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Do You Know Your "pct" From Your "pals" Or "ppi"?

19th of May 2004

I had a thoroughly enjoyable visit to your beautiful village recently and I realised how much I didn’t know about such gems as Chipperfield. I will be back to increase my knowledge!

It occurred to me that perhaps Chipperfield might also like to learn about a new service provided by the NHS. Dacorum Primary Care Trust (PCT) looks after the NHS health care interests of your village and its administrative office address can be found at the foot of this article.

What is a Primary Care Trust? The first Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) became operational in April 2000. PCTs are responsible for improving the health of their local population, developing primary care and community services and advising the Health Authority or directly purchasing hospital services with their own budget. They also have a duty to give front-line staff and the public more say about health and local health services, which brings me to …

PALS. The new service I would like to tell you about is the Patient Advice and Liaison Service. PALS has been set up in each NHS Trust to provide support, information and help for patients, their carers and families. It will listen and respond to people’s concerns so that the PCT can improve the services that it provides for residents. PALS can provide information on NHS services and respond to any concerns or queries confidentially. The service can help sort out problems quickly on behalf of patients, their families and carers and put people in touch with other local agencies that might be able to help, e.g. voluntary or social care organisations. PALS will also offer guidance if someone wishes to make a complaint.

PPI is a Patient and Public Involvement in Health initiative designed to encourage the public to participate in helping the NHS to become more effective and receptive to the needs of everyone using the service. Each NHS Trust has a Patients’ Forum made up of 7-20 people who work together to see that their local NHS Trust is working effectively for their service users and to help the Trusts improve their service where necessary, or change/add such services to the community.

You can help! If you, or anyone else you know, would like to become a member of the Dacorum Patients’ Forum then please contact Tony Burton at the Dacorum Council for Voluntary Service (DCVS) on 01442-253935. He can send you information on what is involved. The Forums are independent of the NHS. The NHS can only improve if we hear from you – your ideas, your criticisms and your praise where it is due.

For further information please contact me: Anne Lund, PALS Coordinator, Dacorum Primary Care Trust, The Isbister Centre, Chaulden House Gardens, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 2BW. Telephone 01442-840950, or via email:

This page is edited by Tony

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