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NHS learning from patient feedback

Published: 19 Nov 2015 14:37

Patient Opinion celebrates 10th anniversary.

Feedback website Patient Opinion has been praised by Health Secretary Shona Robison for contributing to more than 100 service changes within NHS Scotland.

Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the website, Ms Robison said that the patient feedback site promoted an open and transparent environment and was supporting people to be in control of their care.

Patient Opinion is an independent, not for profit social enterprise whose website allows people to share their experiences, both positive and negative, of health services. Health boards are then able to respond and use this feedback to make changes to improve services.

The Scottish Government has been providing funding to support health boards engage with Patient Opinion since 2013. All health boards respond to experiences shared on the website and since it was introduced in Scotland, 107 changes to health services, facilities, signage and food services have been made.

The service has gone from strength to strength in Scotland with 1,305 stories about services shared during 2014-15. This represented a 96 per cent increase on the same period in 2013-14.

The vast majority of Scottish stories shared – 98 per cent in 2014-15 – received a response, compared to the national UK response rate of 81 per cent. In Scotland, 11 health boards responded to 100 per cent of stories.

Around half of the Scottish stories published were positive and offered thanks, praise and support to NHS staff.

Since 2013 the Scottish Government has made funding of up to £500,000 available to support all territorial health boards and relevant special boards, including NHS Education for Scotland, NHS National Waiting Times Centre, NHS 24, the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS National Services Scotland and Healthcare Improvement Scotland, to engage with Patient Opinion.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

"Patient Opinion is a valuable resource that supports people to be in the driving seat of their care. It is vital that patients, their families and carers can have their say and be listened to, and this site allows people to do just that.

"It is welcoming to see that 98 per cent of stories in Scotland have received a response, way above the national average of 81 per cent. The NHS in Scotland is founded on openness and transparency, and our commitment to Patient Opinion shows we are among the most approachable and responsive health care services in the world.

"It is also good to see that use of the site in Scotland has increased by 96 per cent over the past year and that more than 100 changes to services have been made – highlighting the worth of the site.

"The website is celebrating its 10th anniversary and we have been supporting health boards across Scotland to engage with the site since 2013. It provides an important route for people to share their experiences of care – whether good or bad – directly with NHS health boards, and engage in constructive dialogue with them about how services can be improved.

"'Earlier this year, the Scottish Government signed a contract with Patient Opinion that covers the costs of all relevant NHS boards' use of the site until at least 2017.

"The NHS belongs to everyone and it is only right that those using it should have a say in how it is run. The website is an accessible way for patients and families to give their views, and adds to the range of tools NHS boards use to get feedback from patients."

Gina Alexander, Director of Patient Opinion Scotland said:

"It's really encouraging to see how health services in Scotland are opening up to the possibilities of people sharing their experiences in this way.

"Every experience or story shared has the potential to initiate improvements in services, encourage staff, and help us to learn about what works, and what doesn't.

"The way health services in Scotland are using Patient Opinion is just what our founder, Dr Paul Hodgkin, had in mind 10 years ago when he came up with the idea. I would just encourage more and more people to share their experiences using Patient Opinion and help to make our health services even better."

Notes to editors

All stories which have resulted in change can be accessed here:

Case study

Changes created at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock on the back of Patient Opinion feedback:

When one Patient Opinion user in NHS Ayrshire and Arran rated his check-up at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock his comments created a wider and positive change for the hospital.

Through Patient Opinion he said that he was impressed by the colour pathways at the hospital, which help direct patients and visitors to wards. However, he thought it would be even better if the letter he had received from the hospital regarding his appointment outlined which colour code he should follow.

Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, picked up this comment and fed back that she thought it was a great idea and one she would look into further.

A month later Eunice returned to Patient Opinion to inform the patient that his comment had created a change to the information the hospital put in its appointment letters.

She said: "Our pre-operative assessment manager at University Hospital Crosshouse sent me an email this morning to say that as a direct result of a comment made on Patient Opinion I have had the pre-op assessment letters amended to include the zone colour."

The patient followed up with a response to the change, he said: "That is fabulous - great to hear that is can be implemented without too many problems. Just goes to show that these forums work."