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Patient advice and liaison service officer

Patient advice and liaison service (PALS) officers give support, advice and information about NHS services. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £35,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • a good general standard of education, like GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including English and maths
  • experience in a customer care or mediation role, including dealing with complaints

Some NHS organisations might ask for a degree, while others may prefer you to have some working knowledge of the NHS. 

A background in a health profession like nursing could be useful.

You could start by volunteering in Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), or working as a PALS secretary or administrator and working your way up.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • excellent listening and communication skills
  • the ability to deal with complex and sensitive situations
  • the ability to train others
  • IT and keyboard skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll be a point of contact for patients, their families and carers. You’ll help with any questions or concerns they have about their care.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • working with staff, managers and support groups to find ways to solve problems
  • helping patients understand the NHS complaints procedure 
  • managing complaints
  • telling patients and the public how they can get involved in their own healthcare and with local NHS services
  • listening to patients' concerns, suggestions and experiences and raising these with people who design and manage services
  • providing information about how to get independent help with a complaint
  • supervising and coordinating PALS volunteers

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 to £28,500

Experienced: £26,250 to £35,500 (PALS manager)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may sometimes need to work outside of these hours.

You’ll be based in a hospital or in the community, as part of a local clinical commissioning group or local area team. 

You could travel across different sites, so you’ll usually need to have access to a car.

You’ll need to be able to deal with emotional and distressing situations.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and possibly further study, you could progress to senior PALS officer or PALS service manager.

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Last updated: 21 August 2017