We are always interested to receive comments from patients, relatives and carers, about our services or about the care we provide.  We strive to deliver high quality services which are responsive to individual needs.

Comments on services, both positive and negative, may help us to continue to do things well or do things better.

If you feel satisfied and wish to thank members of staff, the trust will be delighted to hear from you, either verbally or in writing.

Regrettably, things sometimes go wrong.  If you have a concern or complaint, please bring it to a member of staff’s attention as soon as possible to help us identify areas where improvements may be needed.

How to tell us about your views

You may wish to speak to a member of staff about the service you are receiving, for example a nurse, doctor, receptionist or manager. If you are unhappy with the care or treatment provided please tell us as soon as possible.

Most problems can be resolved simply by talking to the person responsible for your care or treatment. If you are worried about something the sooner you tell us the sooner we can try to put things right. If you do not feel comfortable about approaching this person directly ask to speak to the ward manager or modern matron, the consultant or general manager.

Please do not be afraid to say what you think. If you bring concerns to our attention it will not affect your future treatment or care. The trust has a policy of dealing with problems openly. We welcome all comments and will do everything possible to put things right.

It helps if concerns can be raised as soon as possible to enable us to try and resolve them. Regrettably we may not be able to investigate complaints made more than one year after the event complained about as we may not be able to carry out a thorough investigation.

What is Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)?

PALS staff work for the trust providing advice and information about trust services or signposting people to other agencies.  If you have compliments about any of the trust services they can ensure these are passed on to the appropriate staff.  If you have comments, concerns or complaints, they will listen and advise on options for taking these forward.  

What can PALS do to help me?

If you have concerns about any of the trust services either you or your relative are receiving, PALS staff will listen and discuss options with you.  They can talk to clinical staff on your behalf or you may prefer to have a meeting with clinical staff and support from PALS staff. The aim overall is to resolve concerns as quickly as possible.  If your concerns are about a relatives care, to ensure patient confidentiality, PALS staff may need to seek permission from your relative before contacting a clinician.

The PALS team aims to:

  • advise and support patients, their families and carers
  • signpost, providing information on NHS services and support available from other agencies
  • listen to your compliments, comments, concerns and complaints
  • help sort out problems on your behalf

PALS act independently when handling patient and family concerns, liaising with staff, managers and, where appropriate, relevant organisations, to negotiate solutions as soon as possible. If necessary, PALS can also refer patients and families to specific local or national-based support agencies.

PALS staff do not provide long term advocacy support, counselling, diagnosis or clinical advice.  PALS staff can however speak on your behalf to the people who provide all of these services.

How do I contact PALS?

PALS staff are available Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm.

Freephone: 0800 052 0219

Tel: 01642 283546

Mobile: 07775 518 086

Email: tewv.pals@nhs.net

Post: PALS team, Flatts Lane Centre, Normanby Middlesbrough, TS6 0SZ

Making a complaint 

How does a complaint differ from a concern?

A concern is an issue requiring advice support or explanation and usually in regard to current care. 

A complaint is defined as “an expression of dissatisfaction requiring a considered response from the Trust addressing concerns and attempts by all reasonable means to resolve them to the point of satisfaction.”

How do I make a complaint?

If you feel that your concerns cannot be resolved by advice, support or explanation from PALS and clinical staff and you would prefer a written response from the chief executive, you can make a complaint under the 2009 NHS Regulations. 

PALS staff can help you to pursue your concerns in this way by registering your concerns as a complaint or alternatively you may wish to write your concerns directly by letter to the complaints manager, based at Flatts Lane Centre, Normanby, Middlesbrough, TS6 0SZ, or tel. 01642 451638 or email tewv.complaints@nhs.net 

What happens when my complaint is registered?

PALS or complaints staff will discuss the method of investigation, negotiate the expected timescale for the response and agree your expected outcomes in making a complaint.  A meeting may also be arranged to discuss the complaint.  People can opt to receive a written response from the chief executive or initially to receive the information verbally from appropriate staff involved in the investigation.  A verbal response will also usually be followed by a letter from the chief executive.

What kinds of concerns or complaints do people raise?

The subject of concerns or complaints vary and include issues relating to medication, care plans, communication, access to appointments, environmental and facilities issues on wards.

Will I be discriminated against if I raise concerns or complaints?

No, the trust is committed to listening to people’s concerns and all staff are encouraged and empowered to resolve concerns.   Patient care should not be affected negatively by people raising concern either with clinical staff, PALS or complaints staff.   If patients or carers do experience discrimination, it should be reported to PALS as soon as possible.

Are all concerns or complaints taken seriously?

Yes, all comments, concerns, and complaints are taken seriously.  Please do not be afraid to say what you think, because by listening to people we can try to make things better for you. 

Would you like independent support to raise a complaint?

If the answer to this is “yes”, then the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICA) can help you. They can provide an experienced worker, known as an advocate to support you with your complaint. 

For initial enquiries please contact:

ICA North East (Carers Federation) tel: 0808 802 3000 or email ica@carersfederation.co.uk or visit www.nenhscomplaintsadvocacy.co.uk or write to: North East NHS ICA, Unit 312, Aidan House, Sunderland Road, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, NE8 3HU.  

Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service Yorkshire (Cloverleaf Advocacy) (for Scarborough, Whitby, Ryedale, Hambleton and Richmondshire and Harrogate) tel: 0300 012 4212 or email helpwithnhscomplaintsnorthyorks@cloverleaf-advocacy.co.uk  or visit www.helpwithnhscomplaintsnorthyorks.org  or write to: Independent Health Complaints Advocacy Service, 4 Devonshire Court, Green Lane Trading Estate, Clifton, York, YO30 5PQ.

How do we aim to resolve concerns raised either verbally or in writing?

  • Discuss your concerns with you in person or by telephone
  • Investigate them thoroughly and fairly
  • Provide a detailed response either in writing or verbally, your preferred option will be discussed with you, within agreed timescales
  • Keep you up-to-date if there is any delay
  • Take action within the trust to learn lessons and make any identified improvements to services.

Confidentiality and consent

Any information you provide is strictly confidential and will be kept safely and securely.

If we need to pass your information on to another member of staff, we will only do so with your consent or if we are worried about the safety of yourself or others.

If you are a relative, friend or representative of a patient, please note that we cannot provide clinical information without the consent of the patient concerned.

If you are not satisfied with the trust’s response

The trust aims to respond fully to your concern or complaint and will work with you to reach a satisfactory resolution. However, if you are still dissatisfied you can ask the Ombudsman to investigate your case. The address is given below.

The Ombudsman is completely independent of the NHS and has the authority to investigate all aspects of complaints. Normally, the Ombudsman will only investigate if working with the trust (local resolution) has been exhausted.

Contact details are:

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

Tel: 0345 015 4033

Email: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk

Website: www.ombudsman.org.uk

Please be assured that in responding to you we will take into account your preferences regarding timescales for the trust to respond to your concerns, your expected outcomes and the way we respond.

What if I want to take legal action against the trust?

If you are considering taking legal action against the trust you should seek appropriate legal advice.

When a concern or complaint involves both health and adult social care

If you have a concern or complaint about your care that involves both the NHS and adult social care (your local authority) you can inform either organisation and you will receive a single co-ordinated response.

Useful contact numbers

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all health and adult social care in
England ensuring that quality standards are met where care is provided.

Tel: 0300 061 6161

The General Medical Council (GMC) aims to protect, provide and monitor the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.

Tel: 0161 923 6602

The Nursing Midwifery Council aims to protect the public by ensuring nurses and midwives provide high standards of care.

Tel: 020 7333 9333

Information in other languages and formats

You can download this information as a leaflet.

An easy read version is also available.

If you would like this leaflet in another language, large print, audio or braille, please ask a member of staff to contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on 0800 052 0219.

You may find the trust's jargon buster helpful in understanding terms you may come across whilst in contact with us.