Getting the help you need – How PALS are supporting patients in Birmingham investigates people’s experiences of contacting NHS Patient Advice & Liaison Services (PALS).

By Healthwatch Birmingham

The report highlights the importance of NHS Trusts PALS for involving patients in decisions about their care and as a means for Trusts to improve the patient experience.

We heard from patients, and their carers, from about their contact with NHS Trusts PALS departments in Birmingham. Inconsistencies in services meant experiences were varied, but people told us that they value a personalised, inclusive service that is responsive to individual needs

People said they want:

  • PALS to be better understood and more accessible for patients, carers and families.
  • Better communications and information, particularly keeping people updated on their enquiry
  • Better staffing and opening hours
  • PALS to be more consistent and proactive in following up enquiries, and impartial when dealing with complaints
  • Better staff attitudes and understanding of health conditions, especially autism and similar conditions
  • PALS to involve more service users to give them more influence to make changes in NHS Trust

Following our investigation, Healthwatch Birmingham asked NHS Trusts to develop actions to:

  • address issues that led to dissatisfaction amongst those who contacted PALS
  • to address the issues that they indicated needed to be improved to make PALS more effective
  • design a process that ensures that Trusts are hearing more feedback and are using that feedback to improve both the patient experience and PALS systems

All seven NHS hospital and community Trusts in Birmingham responded and outlined the actions they intend to take.

Getting the help you need – How PALS are supporting patients in Birmingham Download File (pdf 21.73 MB)

Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) welcomes the Healthwatch Birmingham report following feedback from patients and carers on experiences of contacting PALS services in Birmingham. Thank you for this feedback, this has been very useful to us in reflecting on how our Trust is doing and where we can identify improvements for our service users, carers and families. - Shane Darby, Customer Relations Lead at Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust