Patient advice and liaison service officer

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • work with staff, managers and support groups to solve problems
  • help patients understand the NHS complaints procedure
  • manage complaints
  • raise patient feedback and concerns with NHS management
  • supervise and coordinate PALS volunteers


You’ll need:

  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (leadership)
  • 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 (organisation)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) Officer, you typically need a combination of education, skills, and qualities that enable you to effectively assist patients, address concerns, and facilitate communication between patients and healthcare providers. While there are no strict GCSE subject requirements for this role, certain subjects and skills can provide a strong foundation for pursuing a career as a PALS Officer.

Here are some relevant GCSE subjects:

Relevant GCSE Subjects

  1. English Language: Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are essential for interacting with patients, addressing inquiries, and documenting information accurately.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills can be helpful for managing data, tracking cases, and analyzing trends.
  3. Psychology or Sociology: Understanding human behavior, effective communication, and empathy is valuable in addressing patient concerns and needs.

You can get into this job through:

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

A Diploma in Customer Service teaches useful skills like dealing with complaints and resolving patient issues.

You can gain some of the skills and knowledge you need through:

  • a Customer Service Practitioner Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • a Customer Service Specialist Advanced Apprenticeship

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.

It can be possible to enter this role through volunteering.

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 authority or trust.

Direct Application
To apply directly to become a PALS officer jobs, you’ll need:

a good general standard of education grades including English and maths
previous experience in a customer care or mediation role, including dealing with complaints
Some organisations might want you to have a degree or may prefer you to have some working knowledge of the healthcare system.

A background in any of the following professions could be useful:

  • healthcare
  • advice
  • advocacy
  • counselling

Working Hours and Environment:

You could typically work 37 to 39 hours per week.

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

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.


Career Path & Progression:

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