Involving patients: Using and responding to Patient feedback: PALS & Complaints
Dermatology consultants can collate feedback obtained through indirect sources to proactively engage with and respond to patient concerns and improve patient care, as part of wider patient involvement strategy.
Patient Advice and Liaison Service
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at your trust has a vital function in supporting patients to navigate through the health system and have a role in seeking the views of service users, carers and the public to ensure that services are effective in meeting patients needs. They provide service users with on the spot help and listen and seek to resolve service user concerns. They can also diffuse potentially difficult situations and facilitate co-operation between service users and staff.
PALS can therefore act as a catalyst for change and improvement by providing the departments with regular information and feedback on problems arising and gaps in services. Dermatology consultants can liaise with PALS to understand what queries and concerns they have received from patients relating to dermatology services, work with them to resolve recurrent issues and put in place arrangements to prevent further issues.
Reviewing complaints and compliments
Patients may contact your service directly to make a complaint about the service that they have received, or alternatively they may contact the local primary care trust from which your service has been commissioned from. Complaints are a rich source of feedback that can be used constructively to improve the quality of services as well as demonstrate that the concerns of patients are being listened and being responded to.
Similarly patients may want to make positive comments on the care and services that they have received. Reviewing compliments received are just as important because they can be used to inform commissioners which factors are contributing to a good experience for patients.
NHS Choices has introduced patient feedback for NHS services in England including hospitals and GP Practices. This allows members of the public to post comments about their experience of individual NHS services - which can include their experience of accessing hospital based dermatology services - and helps them make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Patient comments also help providers assess their level of service and make changes where necessary. Furthermore, as well as reviewing the results and outcomes of national and local patient surveys, the Care Quality Commission will also review patient feedback posted on NHS Choices and how individual departments have responded to them as part of the process of demonstrating that providers are actively engaging with and responding to patients.
NHS Choices has produced a summary guide about how best to respond to patient feedback. Links for further information
The NHS website (formerly NHS Choices)
Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
Care Opinion - Independent feedback website (formerly Patient Opinion)