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What is the challenge your project is going to address and how does it connect to your chosen theme?

We are trying to create a responsive complaints and patient advisory and  liaison service (PALS) within the trust, that caters to the patient’s individual needs and provides learning for all staff.  One response to a complaint does not fit all and the majority of patients just want an apology and the reassurance that what has happened to them won’t happen to someone else.  Learning from complaints can often takes months to reach governance groups and a further few months to come up with an action plan and implement the learning actions.  A virtual PALS service would provide clinical teams and services with the ability to immediate improvements to care and services.

We try to offer meetings between our complainants and the clinical teams but finding a time and suitable room convenient for all parties is a challenge.  A virtual meeting would mean more flexibility for all parties, and offer much quicker resolution meetings than a physical meeting would provide.

What does your project aim to achieve?

Aim – To launch a virtual resolution service

Objectives – For virtual face-to-face resolution with clinicians within 24 hours

– To increase and early improve resolution giving patients a better experience

– To improve trust wide learning from complaints

– Give staff the ability to make immediate improvements

By using video conferencing, we will provide patients and relatives with a credible, human response much quicker than would be possible through standard mediation, leading to quicker improvements, faster resolution and increased patient satisfaction.

The benefits of early resolution are manifold: solve problems and resolve concerns immediately; prevent formal complaints; and perhaps most importantly of all, provide clinical teams and services with the ability to make immediate improvements.  By facilitating direct resolution, virtual PALS will enable swift resolution and quality improvement.

How will the project be delivered?

A band 4 facilitator/ analyst will be employed alongside the current PALS team; which comprises of 1 Band 8 Clinical Service Lead, 1 Band 7 Clinical PALS manager, 1 Band 6 Clinical Ward Liaison PALS Advisor and 3 Band 4 non-clinical PALS advisors.  The team will be working closely with the IT development team to adapt the current virtual consultation software, which is currently being trialled within our outpatient clinics.

The facilitator/analyst will assist in the initial set up of the project and moving forward will facilitate the virtual meetings and analyse the data and feedback from the project.

The service lead is part of the Q community and is currently completing a Health Education England fellowship to improve the complaints service, fully supported by the trusts QI team and the Head of Patient Experience and Involvement.

Each of the trusts 4 divisions will be involved at senior level to help implement the project, with the support of their clinical governance teams.

What and how is your project going to share learning throughout?

The project will be shared with the Wessex patient experience and complaints team, with the hope that  it will be able to be implemented for multi-organisational complaints eventually.

It will also be shared across the national Head of Patient Experience (HoPE) network and the national complaints network as well as within Health education Wessex.

We are holding an ‘Experience of Care’ conference in April 2020, where the start of this projects development will be shared; this will include a patient story.  It will then be shared further at UHS annual QI conference held in October.  It is hoped that the outcome can also

How you can contribute

  • If anyone uses virtual consultation software in this way
  • If anyone knows of anything similar either within the NHS or the wider public sector

Plan timeline

28 Apr 2019 Present the project at the Patient Experience Conference
5 Aug 2019 Attend governance meeting to inform clinicians of the plans
5 Aug 2019 Meet with the IT team to see what is already available
2 Sep 2019 Set up a project group to include trust QI team
30 Sep 2019 Write job description and person spec for facilitoator role
7 Oct 2019 Write a business case for the project to continue
14 Oct 2019 Get job description to job matching for banding
18 Nov 2019 Advertise for a facilitator
6 Jan 2020 Facilitator to start and the project to start
6 Apr 2020 Write 3 month report on the progress of the project
8 Jun 2020 Write 6 month report on the progress of the project
28 Oct 2020 Present the project at the QI conference
4 Jan 2021 Write up the project and prepare a presentation


  1. I like the idea of patients getting real time feedback face to face. There is a lot of tele-medicine software and good research o support this as a way of communicating with patients. Might be worth a look at some of the evidence

    Best wishes


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