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Advice for patients and carers

Hospitals and Community Trusts have teams, usually called the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), to help patients, carers and relatives with enquiries or concerns. These teams can:

  • Listen to your concerns, suggestions or queries
  • Help sort out problems quickly on your behalf
  • Provide information on NHS services

PALS teams act confidentially when handling patient and family concerns, liaising with staff, managers and, where appropriate, relevant organisations to provide solutions.  They can also offer information about local and national support agencies and explain how the formal complaints system works.

The contact details for the PALS teams of Bedfordshire CCG's biggest health care providers are hyperlinked below:

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust

Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust (includes Stoke Mandeville Hospital)

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke's and the Rosie Hospitals) 

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust (includes the Lister Hospital)

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) 

Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust

Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust 

Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

SEPT (provides community services)

Herts Urgent Care (HUC)

Please note that the PALS teams are not clinicians and cannot give medical advice.  Click here for guidance on the various ways you can obtain medical aid or advice in Bedfordshire.

For advice on Primary Care services - such as GP practices, opticians and pharmacists - please contact the service itself, or alternatively, NHS England:

  • Telephone: 0300 311 22 33 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, excluding English Bank Holidays)
  • Email: england.contactus@nhs.net
  • Write to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT   

Complaints

If you are disatissfied with a healthcare service, you are advised to complain direct to the service provider - whether GP practice, hospital, community trust or so on - you are unhappy with.

Alternatively, if you are unhappy with a Primary Care service - such as your GP practice, optician, or pharmacist - you can complain to NHS England, the organisation which commissions these services:

  • Telephone: 0300 311 22 33 (Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, excluding English Bank Holidays)
  • Email: england.contactus@nhs.net
  • Write to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT

 

Bedfordshire CCG itself does not provide health care direct to patients:  it commissions (buys) hospital and community health care from other organisations, such as the local hospitals, and you are advised to complain to these direct if you are unhappy with their services. 

The hyperlinks below are to the contact details of the Complaints Teams of our biggest local health care providers:

Bedford Hospital NHS Trust

Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust (includes Stoke Mandeville Hospital)

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (Addenbrooke's and the Rosie Hospitals)

East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust (includes the Lister Hospital)

Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust

Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust

Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

SEPT (provides community services and mental health services)

However, if your complaint is about a commissioning decision made by Bedfordshire CCG - for example, to stop or replace a service in your area - and you, or the person you are complaining on behalf of, are registered with a Bedfordshire GP practice - you should complain directly to the CCG:

Email: bccg.complaintsandfoi@nhs.net 

or phone: 01525 624275

or write to Complaints Department
Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group
Suite 1, Capability House
Silsoe
BEDFORD
Beds  MK45 4HR

The CCG ensures that it is kept informed of the complaints received by its providers, and of improvements to services resulting from complaints.  Its own Complaints Policy is available here.

Advice and help in making a complaint

If you need advice or help in making a complaint, you can contact the PALS or Enquiries service of the hospital or other service you wish to complain about (see above for contact details).

Or you can contact the NHS Complaints Advocacy service, provided locally by POhWER, by phoning 0300 456 2370.  This is an independent service, free of charge

Some Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get help with health costs? 
You might be able to get help with health costs such as prescription fees.  Click here for more information. 

How long should I wait for treatment?
You have the legal right to start your NHS consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral, unless you choose to wait longer or it is clinically appropriate that you wait longer. Click here for more information about the 18-week waiting time, how it is calculated, and what to do if you’ve been waiting longer than 18 weeks. 

What about gluten-free foods? 
Bedfordshire CCG makes certain gluten-free foods available on prescription.  Click here for more information. 

What if I'm a carer looking for advice?
Hospital and other provider PALS service, and other sources of advice and support, are available to carers as well as to patients and relatives.  But there is also a dedicated helpline for carers with questions about their role - click here for more information.  You might also be interested in the many forms of support and advice offered by Carers in Bedfordshire.

Where can I find more information on Continuing Healthcare?
You can find lots of information about Continuing Healthcare (CHC) via the CCG's CHC webpage.  

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This page was last revised on 02/02/2015

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