Contacting your saviours can be a big step on the road to recovery.
When you have a sudden cardiac arrest it’s quite likely you know nothing about what happened or the people who helped you to survive. Finding out more information can be a real positive step and as an additional bonus, it can be a real reward for the people who helped, especially as it’s likely they won’t know what happened to you once you left their care.
How do I contact them?
The UK is divided up into a number of ambulance services and in most cases of a sudden cardiac arrest, you will have been dealt with by the ambulance service that covers the area you were in when your event happened.
Who are PALS?
A PALS team offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers and can usually assist with enquiries in a number of ways.
- Helping to answer questions about your treatment
- Providing information and putting you in touch with other health care providers and organisations
- Receiving comments and suggestions about your experience and feeding them back so that services can be improved
- Supplying information on patients’ rights
- Passing on your thanks to ambulance staff if you would like to praise them for your treatment
- Advising on how to access the complaints service, if you are unhappy about any aspect of your care or treatment
Please note that there appear to be no official ‘PALS’ teams in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and so we have used alternative contact points.
What can I request?
The form below can be used to just say thanks, pass on a message or to request any of the following:
- a meeting with your saviours
- an audio recording of the emergency phone call
- the patient information recorded
When you select “yes” for any of the options, a request will automatically be inserted into the email message.
Please be aware of the following important points:
PALS are not able to provide any personal or contact details of their staff and that it may not always be possible for you to meet the personnel involved in your incident.
If you request a recording of the emergency call you will need to obtain the permission of the call maker before being allowed to access the recording.
Listening to an emergency call can be quite an emotional and distressing experience. The person making the call will have been in the middle of an extremely traumatic situation and may well be in a state of shock and maybe panicking.
What details do I need to supply?
Fill in as much information as you can, some fields such as patient name and address are required. The form is designed to be filled in by the survivor but can be used by others.
If you are not a survivor you will need to fill in the appropriate fields and adjust the main message accordingly.
When you press the send button an email will be sent to both PALS and the email address provided by you.
PALS typically operate Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm and should respond within 48 hrs. They will probably ask for evidence of your identification and so, it’s a good idea to get ready a copy of your driving licence/passport and a utility bill.
Depending on the ambulance trust you may have to make a separate subject access request under the Data Protection Act (2018). Any requests should mean that you get access to your records usually within 1 month.
If your request to meet the personnel is declined, please understand that although it may be very disappointing for you it can be for a variety of reasons (staffing, policies, holidays etc) and should not be taken personally.
However, some ambulance trusts, have on occasion, arranged reunions for specific media and campaigns reasons – such as for media/news opportunities to promote the importance of learning CPR and about access to defibrillators.
If you are interested in telling your story publicly mention it in the message you send – but please note this does not guarantee that they will be able to arrange a reunion.
If you don’t get what you want from the ambulance service or you feel that not all of the information is being revealed, you can always try a freedom of information request.