Patient Experience and PALS
Read this leaflet about It's ok to ask for more information
“It’s OK to ask” has been designed to encourage our patients to ask the questions that matter to them, be prepared before their consultation and have the confidence to say if they do not understand the information they are being given.
We all feel concerned when we don’t understand something, as things can become confusing and even frightening. We know that half of what a person is told is forgotten and half of what they remember is misunderstood. It is for this reason we want to encourage our patients to ask questions. Many people we care for need support to understand health information. This can be even more challenging when our patients have sensory difficulties or English is not their first language. Our aim is that our patients understand.
Why do we need to improve communication with our patients?
The message from our patients remains loud and clear that they want to receive more information and have more involvement in their care. This may be how to take their medication, being able to choose which treatment path to follow, making healthy food choices or finding their way around a busy hospital.
Research tells us that patients who feel involved in decisions about their care and who understand their condition have better outcomes.
We want to really make a difference by giving our patients the knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence to maintain their own well-being in the way that is best for them.
We have a responsibility to make sure that our explanations are not only heard but most importantly understood. If we get it right and encourage our patients to feel confident asking questions to help them understand: it will reduce the need for repeat appointments and hospital admissions.
We are committed to providing the best possible experience for patients and visitors.
Patient Experience and Involvement Strategy - read or download a copy
We know that patients who have a better experience generally have better health outcomes. There is also evidence to suggest that patient experience is improved when patients have more control over their care and make informed decisions.
As a result of listening to feedback, we recognised that we could communicate better with our patients. You told us that we don't always get it right when it comes to involving you in your care and that we don't always provide you with the information you need.
The 'It's ok to ask' initiative has therefore been introduced to encourage you to ask the questions that matter, be prepared before you see a health professional and have the confidence to say if you do not understand the information being given.
This will help us to ensure that we:
- Provide timely, clear communication that our patients understand
- Provide an environment where patients are confident to ask questions
- Learn from patients themselves how much information they would like to receive and the way they would like to receive it.
Ask for a free bookmark when you next visit our Trust. It contains all of the information you need to get involved, suggesting three simple questions that you may want to ask when you next see a health professional:
- What is my main problem?
- What do I need to do?
- Why is it important I do this?
Tell us if we got it right for you by completing our Friends & Family Test
Any complaints about your stay in hospital or your treatment will be listened to. These help us to identify where we are getting it right and where things can be improved for future patients.
There are a number of ways you can do this.
You may wish to raise a concern about something that could have been done better or differently to help us improve.
It is always best to speak to the staff who are treating you first of all.
If this does not resolve your concern please contact PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service), who will be able to support you and advise you of your options.
You may also wish to raise a formal complaint about an experience that you feel has been poor or things that you feel need to be improved or changed.
Please be assured your care will not be affected if you raise a concern or make a complaint. Let us know your comments as soon as possible and where necessary. We will do our best to put things right for you
If you would like support in raising a complaint, independent advocacy services are available to you. The services below will be happy to advise you:
The NHS constitution sets out patients' rights to accessing healthcare:NHS constitution Handbook V2 (2015)
As a Trust, we have a legal obligation to ensure our patients and visitors have equal and inclusive access to all our services. This includes those whose characteristics are protected by the Equality Act 2010:
- Gender re-assignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Race including nationality and ethnic origin
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
We have a number of public involvement groups and forums. Please contact Angela Grocott, Head of Patient Experience and Public Involvement on 01782 675487 for more information or if you are interested in joining.
NHS England have also said that we need to make sure communication is equally accessible to all people and that we should have things in place to support our patients and visitors who have a communication support need.
We support individual communication needs on request. Examples of some of these are:
- A hearing loop is available for use within wards and departments
- Interpreter services are available
- Large print information is available
- Printed information is available in a range of different languages
- Audio information can be made available
- For people who are Next of Kin but may have hearing impairments which make being contacted by phone difficult, we can send you a text message asking you to contact the ward
- We can also assist with access to an independent mental capacity advocate if you feel you might need support
- We have a Hospital Passport for people with hearing impairments
To support with increasingly diverse communication needs, we now have the option to send a text to the identified next of kin or emergency contact to ask them to contact the ward. No personal or confidential information can or will be sent using a text… it is simply a text to ask someone to contact the ward. If you would prefer to receive a text rather than a phone call, please speak with the nurse in charge or contact PALS- the PALS office is just off the main corridor behind Main Reception
Like most people, we like to know if we are doing a good job. By telling us, it encourages staff and helps to build confidence in the quality of our care. If you have received good treatment or service and would like to thank the staff involved, please let us know by contacting PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service). They will ensure that your compliments are passed on to the service or individual concerned as quickly as possible.
Your UHNM Hero
You can also tell us who your UHNM Hero is! Winners of the UHNM Hero award receive a certificate and have their story published on the hospital's website and social media pages. Click here to find out more.
Tell us, we are listening!
As an organisation, we regularly collect patient, visitor and staff feedback through a variety of different ways.
Get involved, have your say!
All feedback is valued as a really important way for us to improve the experience of our patients and visitors. Positive feedback allows us to share good practice throughout the organisation and negative feedback helps us to learn and put improvements into place.
Whether you are a patient or carer, family member or visitor, your comments are important to us. You can leave feedback about your experience of the services provided at our Trust in the following ways:
- Through our PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) department: email@example.com for Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital
- On our website via the Friends and Family Test
- Through external websites:
We welcome the opportunity to hear about what it really feels like to be a patient at UHNM. If you would like to tell your story to a member of the patient experience team, please contact Angela Grocott, Head of Patient Experience on 01782 675487 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you due to use our services in the near future? Are you interested in becoming a 'Mystery Shopper' or completing a diary to describe your experience?
Contact Angela Grocott, Head of Patient Experience on 01782 675487 or email: email@example.com for more information.
The feedback that we receive is used to provide both local and national reports.
If you would like to read some of the feedback we have received in more detail, click on the links below (Insert monthly/quarterly reports)
We have access to information on a huge number of topics. We can also support with sign-posting you to support groups and networks.
For written information in alternative formats, please contact Rebecca Smith, Quality Improvement Facilitator, via PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)
Here are a few links. However, if you need any further assistance, please contact the PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) team.
www.pohwer.net (advocacy service)
www.asist.co.uk (advocacy service)
www.self-help.org.uk (Directory of organisations)
University Hospitals of North Midlands is committed to involving patients, carers and members of the public in planning, developing, delivering and monitoring the services it provides and commissions. We recognise that a big part of involving patients and the public is about giving people a say in how we do things at our Trust.
Involving patients and the public in decision-making is crucial to ensuring that NHS services deliver what patients want and need. We know that listening to our patients and the local community enables us to drive the improvements that matter to them; it is one of the ways in which we can deliver our objective of providing quality patient care.
This section of the website contains information on a variety of ways that you can get involved.
Volunteer at University Hospitals of North Midlands
Volunteers help to improve the quality of patient care in a range of ways. If you are interested, find out more about volunteering at either of our sites.
'In Your Shoes' events and 'Patient Story'
Have you recently been a patient in our hospital? Your experience is really important to help us to share what we do well, make improvements where we could do better and shape our new services going forward. You may wish to share your story alongside other patients/carers or prefer to meet with a member of the Patient Experience team on a one to one basis.
Hospital User Group (HUG)
The aim of HUG is to:
- Maintain an overview of patient and public involvement in the Trust, providing patient-focused feedback
- Contribute towards the development of Trust policies and procedures that affect patients and public
- Work with the Trust in seeking views from patients and the public and hard-to-reach groups by developing links with patient/public/community groups
- Provide a user perspective in the development of the Trust's service plans, contributing to various focus groups on request/as able
Patient Information Ratification Group
Be part of the team that reviews and ratifies new information leaflets written for patients and carers to ensure they are fit for purpose. This can be completed at home for those volunteers who cannot spare the time to attend a monthly meeting but would like the opportunity to review leaflets and provide feedback via email.
Use your contact as a patient in our Trust to provide structured, anonymous feedback about your experience.
Complaints Peer Review Workshops
UHNM has worked with Healthwatch to develop an independently led, Trust-wide Peer Review Programme, which will provide consistency of approach to reviewing complaints and how we investigate and respond to them. We know that it is important to listen carefully to what people say and to conduct investigations in a fair and objective manner. By becoming a member of our Complaints Peer Review Workshop, you will be supporting us to achieve our aim that all complainants are treated with respect, tact, compassion and concern for their well-being.
If you are interested in getting involved in any of our groups, please contact either Angela Grocott, Head of Patient Experience or Rebecca Pilling, Quality Improvement Facilitator: Patient Experience on 01782 675487 or via email to Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service, or 'PALS' for short. At University Hospitals, we aim to provide patients with the best possible care and environment during their hospital stay. PALS was introduced to assist and support patients throughout their care. We an impartial, welcoming, open and confidential service for people who would like information or advice, or would like to comment about any aspect of the services provided by University Hospitals. We can:
- Provide the opportunity for patients, relatives and carers to raise, in confidence, any problems concerns or comments they may have about the care and service they receive from staff
- Provide patient feedback forms for patients to comment on services provided
- Make ward or home visits if necessary
- Provide information on how to view or receive copies of your health record
- Provide you with information and refer you to independent or specialist advocacy services
- Try to resolve any concerns that you may have. If the PALS officers cannot sort the problem out, they will try to find someone who can
- Give information about the Trust's complaints procedure and help to find support
- Provide a welcoming environment for you to discuss your concerns or make a suggestion or comment
- Treat your information in strict confidence and only pass to others with your direct consent
- Return your call as soon as possible if we cannot speak to you personally when you telephone
- Collect patient comments from feedback boxes weekly, and acknowledge comments within two working days of receiving them if a name and telephone number is provided
- Acknowledge any email received as soon as possible
- Seek your permission if issues need to be taken forward
Where are we?
The PALS office at Royal Stoke is situated inside Main Building, to the right of reception in the main entrance. The office is open 9.00am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday (not including bank holidays).
The PALS office at County Hospital is located in the main entrance, to the right before the main reception desk. The office is open 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday (not including bank holidays).
You can email either team at: email@example.com
or telephone: 01782 676450.
If the PALS officers are not available when you call, there is a answerphone service where you can leave a private message which is only available outside of normal working hours (after 4pm and on weekends and Bank Holidays). We will normally call you back the same or next working day.
Are you hard of hearing?
You can text PALS on 07432 169045.
If, after talking to PALS, you are not satisfied and wish to pursue a complaint, please contact the complaints department by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning 01782 676453.