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Patient advice and liaison service officer

Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£20,329 Starter

to

£24,881 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm flexibly

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a patient advice and liaison service officer

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

College

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information

Apprenticeship

You could gain some of the skills and knowledge needed for this role through an intermediate customer service practitioner apprenticeship or a customer service specialist advanced apprenticeship.

You can search for NHS customer service apprenticeships on NHS Jobs.

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information

Work

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.

Volunteering

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. Contact the voluntary services co-ordinator or manager at your local NHS authority or trust or go directly to your local PALS service for advice.

Direct Application

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.

More Information

Career tips

When applying for jobs, you'll be expected to show an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

Further information

You can find out more about working in healthcare from Health Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • 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
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

You could work in the community or in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

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

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Customer Service Practitioner Apprentice (35059)

  • Wage: £195.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bury

Courses In England

Access to HE Diploma (Health)

  • Provider: ASHTON SIXTH FORM COLLEGE
  • Start date: 20 September 2022
  • Location: Ashton-under-Lyne

Access to Higher Education: Health Studies

  • Provider: LOUGHBOROUGH COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2022
  • Location: Loughborough

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