Welcome to the Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) and Comments and Complaints Service
The PALS & Complaints Department welcome and respect all of the feedback that they receive. This feedback helps the Trust to deliver a better service and patient experience for you and for others.
The Trust expects all members of staff to proactively resolve any concern or problem you may encounter regarding your care or that of a loved one.
If you feel that your concerns are not resolved to your satisfaction or you do not wish to discuss the issue directly with the staff concerned the Pals and Complaints Department are here to help you.
How we can help you?
To help and support you
To listen to your concerns, suggestions and queries
To resolve worries and concerns quickly and efficiently
To provide you with information
To guide you on the formal complaints procedure if we are unable to resolve your problem
To help you to reach a satisfactory resolution to your concern
How can you contact us?
You can visit the department in person we are very accessible we are located in the Main Atrium A109 between WH Smiths and Marks and Spencer.
We are open: Monday to Friday - 10.30am to 3.30pm.
You can call us via 01245 514130 (10.30am to 3.30pm - Monday to Friday).
You can write to us at:
PALS & Complaints Department
Email us on :
We will formally acknowledge your letter or email within 3 working days
Please note that If a relative or friend speaks with the department on your behalf, we will need your permission before we can discuss your personal circumstances with them.
Please be assured that if you do wish to raise a concern, suggestion, query or complaint your care will not be adversely affected as a result.
How will my concerns be dealt with?
In most cases a quick response direct from the most appropriate manager/department will resolve your concerns. These are known as PALS Concerns, and are sent from the PALS & Complaints Team directly to the relevant manager responsible for the service you have raised concerns about. The manager for the service will be responsible for ensuring that you are contacted and receive a response quickly (normally within a maximum of 5 working days, although in some individual cases it can take a little longer depending on the issues raised).
If you raise a formal complaint, this will require an investigation and written response from the Chief Executive. There are no set National timeframes for responding to formal complaints, however the Trust recognises that investigations should be carried out in a timely manner, and we aim to respond to Formal Complaints within 30 working-days. In some cases this timeframe may need to be extended if more time is required to fully investigate and respond to the concerns raised.
When making a formal complaint it is helpful for you to inform us what your expectations are and your desired outcome, which can help us to ensure we address your needs when responding to your complaint. If you need help in formulating a complaint or writing a letter, please contact us via the e-mail address below.
If you require assistance in making a complaint about NHS care, you may find it helpful to have some independent advocacy support. This advocacy service is based on where you live, and for patients who live in Essex, this service is provided by ‘Rethink Essex Advocacy’ (their contact details are below).
For patients living in Southend, Thurrock or who live outside the Essex Area, it would be advisable to check the internet for details of the provider of independent NHS complaints advocacy in your area, or contact the PALS Service at your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who may be able to advise you.
Essex Advocacy contact details:
Telephone: 0300 7900 559
Address: Essex Advocacy Service
27 Duke Street
Essex CM1 1HT
Listening and Learning from our complaints
The PALS & Complaints Department are always looking at ways to improve and learn from our services in order to ensure that our patients receive the best possible experience with us. The Trust is able to monitor and learn from complaints in the following ways:
All complaints and concerns raised with The PALS & Complaints Department are logged onto a central database. This enables us to identify trends and themes to complaints and concerns raised, and highlight areas of concern.
The Trust Board receive regular reports (once every three months) which highlight numbers of complaints received in a quarter, themes and key learning.
During individual investigations recommendations and learning are highlighted, which are recorded and monitored on the central database.
Complaints and concerns data is triangulated with other patient feedback (such as patient surveys and external website feedback) to ensure a broader review of themes.
The Trust reports externally to the commissioners (the Clinical Commissioning Groups) on numbers of complaints, themes and learning.
What do I do if I am not happy with the Trust’s response to my complaint?
In all cases the PALS & Complaints Department endeavour to fully address complaints. If you are not satisfied with the Trust’s response to your complaint, in the first instance we would encourage you to let us know to enable us to explore further how we can address your complaint (possibly with a meeting, if you have not already had one, or with a further written response to the outstanding issues). However, in the unlikely event that you remain dissatisfied, you have a right to contact the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).
In most cases the PHSO will not investigate a complaint unless it has already been made to the hospital and all options of resolution have been explored. The PHSO has consultant nursing and medical staff who will provide expert clinical opinion and will assist the PHSO in making any recommendations to the hospital in the event that they decide to take up your case.
The PHSO contact details are:
The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Telephone helpline: 0345 015 4033