Patient advice and liaison service officer
Healthcare | Social care
Patient advice and liaison service (PALS) officers give support, advice and information about NHS services.
£19,737 Starter - £30,615 Experienced
37 to 39 a week (between 8am and 6pm flexibly)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a college courseworking towards this rolevolunteeringapplying directly
You could get some of the skills you need for this job by doing a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Customer Service. This will be useful for dealing with complaints and mediation work.
You'll usually need 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a Level 2 course. You'll need 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a Level 3 course.
You may be able to start as a patient advice and liaison service (PALS) secretary or administrator and work your way up to PALS officer.
A common entry route is through volunteering, particularly within the NHS. Some patient advice and liaison services are staffed by a mix of paid staff and volunteers.
To apply directly to become a PALS officer jobs, you'll need:
a good general standard of education GCSEs (grades 9 to 4 or A* to C) including English and maths
previous experience in a customer care or mediation role, including dealing with complaints
Some NHS organisations might want you to have a degree. Other employers may prefer you to have some working knowledge of the NHS. A background in a health profession such as nursing could be useful. Other relevant backgrounds are advice, advocacy and counselling.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- customer service skills
- knowledge of psychology
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- the ability to work on your own
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
As part of your day-to-day duties, you could:
- work with staff, managers and support groups to find ways to solve problems
- help patients understand the NHS complaints procedure
- manage complaints
- tell patients and the public how they can get involved in their own healthcare and with local NHS services
- listen to patients' concerns, suggestions and experiences and raise these with people who design and manage services
- provide information about how to get independent help with a complaint
- supervise and coordinate PALS volunteers
You could work in the community or in an NHS or private hospital.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career path and progression
With experience and possibly further study, you could progress to senior PALS officer or PALS service manager.