Enquiries: 01305 251150

​​​Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Comments, Complaints, Concerns and Compliments:
PALS is here to help you provide feedback to Dorset County Hospital regarding ​​the care you, or a friend or member of your family, has received.

Your views are very important to us as they can help us to improve the services for all of our patients. Please take time to bring any issue to our attention. Please view our Comments, Complaints, Concerns and Compliments leaflet for additional information (an Easy Read version of the leaflet is also available).

PALS Office:
PALS is a free and confidential service for patients and their carers. The team can help to coordinate answers to any questions about your experiences with the hospital; listen to your suggestions, queries and concerns; and offer advice and support for you, your family, carers and friends.

Our opening hours are 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. We are situated near the North Wing main entrance on Level 1 (near the cash machine).

Problem, concern or complaint?
If you or your family are concerned with any aspect of your care at Dorset County Hospital, please first ask to speak with the ward sister or matron, department/clinic sister or matron, or the department manager as soon as possible. Very often problems can be sorted out straight away.

If you feel the sisters, matrons or department managers are unable to help and you need information, advice or support in resolving a problem, please contact PALS.

Your concerns and complaints will be treated in confidence, they will not be filed on your health records, they will not affect your treatment and you will not be discriminated against in any way.

To help PALS resolve your concern as quickly as possible, it would be helpful if you can provide the following information:

​· The patient details (name, address, date of birth, telephone number and hospital number if known)

​· Your contact details (if different) and your relationship to the patient

​· A clear description of your concern or complaint (if you are raising more than one concern, it helps to number each point so that we may answer all of your concerns.)

​· The ward / department where the concern or query relates to or the name of the member of staff involved

​· Copies of any relevant documents to assist with the investigation

​· If possible, a daytime telephone number on which we can contact you

​· The desired outcome of your complaint

Patient Consent:
If you are raising concerns or making a complaint on behalf of someone else we may, for patient confidentiality reasons, ask for the patient's written consent to reply to you (we can provide a consent form for the patient to sign).

If your concern or complaint also involves another Trust or agency, we will need to have your consent (or that of the patient) to contact them and obtain information for a joint Trust/agency response.

Informal complaints and concerns:
If you have any comments, suggestions, or concerns that can be dealt​ with quickly and informally, we would like to know. You can:

​· Speak to staff

​· Use the suggestion boxes throughout the hospital

​· Write or email PALS

Formal complaints:
Despite every effort we acknowledge that sometimes things go wrong. If your concern cannot be resolved quickly or you feel it is necessary to make a formal complaint about our services, please contact PALS in writing or by email​. You may also telephone us or speak to us in person. Alternatively, you may also write to the Chief Executive.

If you need help in making your complaint you may wish to contact Dorset Advocacy. Dorset Advocacy provides support, independent of the NHS and free of charge, in dealing with the complaints process.


Timescales for making a complaint:
A complaint should be made within 12 months of the incident occurring or within 12 months of discovering you have cause to complain. Complaints received outside of these timescales may still be considered if it is clear that there are valid reasons for the complaint and it is still possible to investigate what happened.


What we will do after receiving a complaint:
The Patient and Customer Services team will acknowledge receipt of your complaint by telephone or in writing within three working days of it being received. We will invite you to discuss the way in which you would like your concerns to be investigated and fed back to you, and discuss the length of time we expect the investigation to take. If there is a delay with the investigation, we will notify you as soon as possible.

If you choose to meet with staff at any point of the investigation, you are welcome to bring a relative, friend or Dorset Advocacy representative to support you.

Please be aware that staff involved in the complaints investigation may need to access your health records (or those of the patient) and in such cases, patient confidentiality will be respected at all times.


What you can do if you are not happy with the outcome:
If you are unhappy with the outcome of our investigation please contact PALS in writing, or by telephone, with details of your remaining concerns within 28 days of our response. We may then suggest that we investigate your complaint further or arrange a meeting with you and the staff involved to discuss your concerns.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman:
If you feel that your complaint has still not been resolved, you may write to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, which is a free service. The Ombudsman, who is appointed by Parliament and is completely independent of the NHS, will decide whether or not to investigate the complaint further. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman will not usually take on a case that has not been through the NHS complaints procedure as outlined above. 


Contact Details: 
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Williams Avenue
Dorset DT1 2JY
Tel: 0800 7838058

For concerns that can be dealt with quickly and informally, please email:​

For formal complaints, please email:

Chief Executive
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Williams Avenue
Dorset DT1 2JY
Tel: 01305 251150
E-mail: headquarters@dchft.nhs.uk


Dorset Advocacy
13-15 Jubilee Court
Paceycombe Way
Dorchester DT1 3AE
Tel: 0300 343 7000
E-mail: nhscomplaints@dorsetadvocacy.co.uk
Website: www.dorsetadvocacy.co.uk​


Healthwatch Dorset
Freepost BH1902
896 Christchurch Road
Bournemouth BH7 6BR
Phone: 0300 111 0102
Email: enquiries@healthwatchdorset.co.uk
Website: www.healthwatchdorset.co.uk


The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman
Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP
Helpline telephone: 0345 015 4033
Fax: 0300 061 4000
E-mail: OHSC.Enquiries@ombudsman.gsi.gov.uk
Website: www.ombudsman.org.uk


Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Finsbury Tower
103-105 Bunhill Row
Tel: 03000 616161
E-mail: enquiries@cqc.org.uk


NHS England
PO Box 16738
B97 9PT
Tel: 0300 311 22 33
E-mail: england.contactus@nhs.net (if you are making a complaint please state: 'For the attention of the complaints team' in the subject line)
British Sign Language (BSL):  If you use BSL, you can to talk to us via a video call to a BSL interpreter. Please visit NHS England's BSL Service.
Website: https://www.england.nhs.uk/co​ntact-us/complaint/#feedback
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, except Wednesdays when open at the later time of 9.30am. 

© Dorset County Hospital 2013

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