Making a complaint

Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS)

Our pledge


The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) aims to support the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s principles of:

  • Getting it right

  • Being Customer focused

  • Being open and accountable

  • Acting fairly and proportionately

  • Putting things right

  • Seeking continuous improvement

We also support the National Patient Safety Agency’s principles of Being Open.


Being Open supports a culture of openness, honesty and transparency, and includes apologising and explaining what happened if something went wrong.


Raising your concerns


If you, your relatives or your carers are unhappy with any aspect of your care, or the service you receive while you are staying in hospital or attending an outpatient clinic, you or they should speak to a member of the ward or clinic staff as soon as possible. If you feel unable to speak directly to staff, then contact PALS who will be able to assist you. At Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie, the PALS team deal with formal complaints as well as concerns, enquiries, suggestions and compliments.


If you feel that your concerns have not been addressed adequately or you feel so strongly that you wish to proceed with a formal complaint immediately, then the information below will explain the process to you. Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie are guided by the NHS regulations for complaints management (most recently updated on 1 April 2009).


If you want to make a complaint but require support or advocacy from a source external to the hospital, the Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) can help you. ICAS can help you write letters and will attend meetings at the hospital with you.

> ICAS contact details


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Making a formal complaint


Stage one: local resolution

  • The Trust has a dedicated Complaints Manager to deal with formal complaints.

  • You can contact us by telephone, email or visit our office in the Information Centre.

  • If your complaint is detailed or complex, please write it down so we can be sure that we understand all of your concerns.

  • Tell us what your expectations are and your desired outcome (we will ask you about this when we acknowledge your complaint).

  • If it is appropriate, and you agree, we can arrange for you to meet and discuss your concerns with the medical and nursing staff who have been involved with your care (this can often help to resolve a complaint quickly)

  • We try to investigate and respond to complaints within 25 working days although in complex cases this may take longer which we will negotiate with you.

  • The Chief Executive sees every complaint made and every response given.

  • If you are dissatisfied with the response you receive the Complaints Manager and PALS team will be pleased to discuss the further options with you.

  • If all options to resolve the complaint locally have been exhausted you can request that the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) undertakes an independent review of your complaint.


Stage two: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

The PHSO provides a service to the public by undertaking independent investigations into complaints that the NHS has not acted properly or fairly or have provided a poor service.


In most cases the PHSO will not investigate a complaint unless it has already been made to the hospital and all options of resolution have been explored.


The PHSO has consultant nursing and medical staff who will provide expert clinical opinion and will assist the PHSO in making any recommendations to the hospital in the event that they decide to take up your case.


Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO)

Millbank Tower


Telephone: 0345 015 4033 (charged at local call rate)


> Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman


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How to contact PALS


Drop in and see us…

We are located in the Information Centre, which is close to main reception.


We are open:

  • Monday to Friday 09:00 to 17:00
  • Saturday 13:00 to 16:00
  • Sunday 13:00 to 16:00


Write to us…

Box 53, Cambridge University Hospitals, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ


Email us…
Please note that we can accept your correspondence by email but we cannot respond with any clinical information – this has to be done by hard copy letter.


Telephone us…

01223 216 756


The office has an answerphone which is available 24 hours a day and messages will be responded to as quickly as possible. If your issue is very urgent and you are calling out of hours please telephone the hospital contact centre on 01223 245 151 and ask for the on call manager.

If you are an inpatient you can telephone for free from your Hospedia telephone – please call *801


Fax: 01223 256170




Other useful contact details


Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS)


PO Box 14043


B6 9BL


Tel: 0300 456 2370


Please note these contact details for ICAS are for the central office although the staff will be pleased to direct you to your local office upon request.




Please note: as from 1 April 2009 you may complain directly to the Primary Care Trust (Commissioner) who commissioned the hospital to provide you with a service. Please discuss this option further with your GP or Practice Manager should you wish to explore this option.







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Contact Patient Advice & Liaison Service

Tel: 01223 216 756


From bedside Hospedia: *801


Fax: 01223 256 170

Please note that we can accept your correspondence by email but we cannot respond with any clinical information – this has to be done by hard copy letter.


Opening hours:

Mon - Fri: 09:00 to 17:00


Saturday: 13:00 to 16:00


Sunday: 13:00 to 16:00

Out of hours:

If you have an urgent issue that you need to discuss outside of these opening hours please call the hospital Contact Centre:


Tel: 01223 245 151

Please ask for the on call manager.