Improving hospital responses to patient comments


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Recommendation 255 of the Francis Inquiry into failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is pretty clear that patient stories should be widely available. Patient Opinion (PO) have been doing this for some time, not only giving patients a voice, by publishing comments and concerns about hospital care, but also showing who has read, responded and made changes as a result of these comments.

But how often do NHS organisations respond and take notice when a patient uses Patient Opinion or NHS Choices to tell their story? ZPB, the University of Surrey and PO recently teamed up to investigate this issue and also compared our findings with other measures of patient experience.

The results were a bit of a mixed bag: of the 124 trusts whose data was available, only six had responded to every posting, although 29 responded to over 80%. At the more concerning end of the scale, 26 trusts had not responded to a single comment. Whilst we weren’t able to find a link between response rates and the other measures, the most positive outcome is that since we told the hospitals we would be publishing this data, 35 have now replied to more of these comments including 13 of the 26 who hadn’t previously posted a response to any of their comments.

We’d very much encourage people to download and interrogate the full data which can be found on the PO website at https://www.patientopinion.org.uk/info/responsiveness-2012-methodology.

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