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COVID-19 - Revised complaints process

Advice for Patients/Families needing to make a complaint during the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Solent NHS Trust take concerns and complaints about our services very seriously and we have a rigorous process for dealing with Complaints or concerns raised by patients which is overseen by our PALs and Complaints team.

You will be aware, from the media, of the significant impact that the Corona virus pandemic has had on services throughout the world and locally within our healthcare service. During this time Solent are deploying all staff in other areas to  focus on direct patient care.

We have therefore had to make the difficult decision to change the way we are responding to complaints and service concerns. This information is line with advice provided by NHS England and the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsmen (PHSO).

It is with great regret that we have had to put these new measures in place but it is important that we release as much resource as possible to support the delivery of clinical care in tackling Corona Virus. We have prepared some further information and FAQs for your guidance and look forward to returning our PALs services to normal as soon as possible. In the meantime thank you for your support in enabling us to focus on the maintenance of frontline services for our patients.

Jackie Ardley,

Chief Nurse


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


  • Our PALs team will still be available to take calls and concerns for the same hours as usual, but please bear with us it may take longer than usual to respond.
  • They will be less able to connect you directly to clinical teams who are all focussing on the provision of direct care We will continue to have our usual email access for PALs and complaints.

Our current opening hours are: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

A number of changes will be required in how we handle complaints. This will affect the length of time to reach a conclusion and reduce the scope of how we can investigate your concerns.

  • If you wish to make complaint we will take details from you and log them in the usual way but we may need to ask more explicit questions to be sure we can respond accurately.
  • Your complaint will be reviewed by senior staff and triaged to identify any patient/staff safety concerns. Immediate actions will be put in place to address these to ensure safety.
  • You will receive a letter advising that your complaint will now be paused for a period of time. National guidance suggests that this will initially be for a period of 3 months but this is subject to review as determined by the national picture in tackling Coronavirus.
  • You will be advised when making your complaint that this will not be supported with the normal investigation until there has been a step down in current measures related to Coronavirus.
  • If you wish to progress you complaint we will record this and contact will be made with you once services return to normal.
  • We will not be able to support you meeting with the services to discuss your complaint or concern. During a period of social distancing Local Resolution meetings will not be possible. This will prevent transmission of Corona Virus through face to face contact
  • Clinical staff are also unable to engage in non face to face resolution meetings in most cases. This is because we must ensure that clinical staff are able to be with patients who require their care at a time when we know that there will be more patients requiring care and potentially fewer staff to deliver this.
  • We are not able to advise when we will be able to return to formal responses to complainants, however, the situation will be monitored closely. National Guidance suggests that this will be for a period of 3 months initially
  • We will issue further guidance to complainants when the situation starts to resolve and our normal service can resume.
  • If after this time you wish to continue with you complaint you will not need to resubmit your complaint to PALs once normal service has resumed. We will contact you and discuss how you would like to proceed.

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

Please visit our services page for specific services and contact details. Alternatively, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service by emailing or calling the number below. You can also give us feedback, make a complaint or share a compliment.

 0800 013 2319

*Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm

The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act was passed on 30 November 2000. It gives a general right of access to all types of recorded information held by public authorities, with full access granted in January 2005.

The Act sets out exemptions to that right and places certain obligations on public authorities.


Phone: 0300 123 3919

*Subject to any exemptions which apply, we are obliged to provide the information requested please note that requests for Personal Information is not covered under this Act and should be applied for through the Data Protection Act 1998.

Our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton.

While our services can be found around various NHS locations in Southampton and Portsmouth (and surrounding districts), our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton at:

Highpoint Venue
Bursledon Road
SO19 8BR

If you require a printable version of how to find us including bus times, car access and bike info please download our leaflet. (Copyright of Highpoint Venue).

Central office phone: 0300 123 3390

*Lines open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

If you are a journalist with a media enquiry, please contact the Communications Team at: 

0300 123 4156 or 02381 031076

The Communications Office is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.