Getting the help you need – How PALS are supporting patients in Birmingham.

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Birmingham’s report, published December 2019, highlights the importance of NHS Trusts PALS of involving patients in decisions about their care and as a means for Trusts to improve the patient experience.

Through an online survey questionnaire and telephone interviews, we heard from 87 patients, and their carers, 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.

What do patients value?

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 enquiries
  • 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

Improving people’s experiences of PALS

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

  • address issues that led to dissatisfaction amongst those who contacted PALS
  • address issues that need to be improved to make PALS more effective
  • design a process that ensures Trusts are hearing more feedback and are using it  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. Actions are included in this report and a follow-up report is due over the summer.

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General details

Report title 
Getting the help you need – How PALS are supporting patients in Birmingham.
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Birmingham
Date of publication 
Sunday, 1 December, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 September, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 31 October, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Complaints procedure
Health and safety
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Quality of treatment
Staff attitudes
Other information of note about this report 
Good Practice

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Acute services with overnight beds
Acute services without overnight beds / listed acute services with or without overnight beds
Inpatient care

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Sexual orientation 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.