Why is feedback important?
How can we possibly know how to deliver the best care possible if we don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of our care?
Feedback from our service users (and their families and carers) is critical. Without it, we risk delivering care that fails to make the difference in people’s lives that we’re aiming for.
Having the option to give feedback anonymously, in your own time and in your own words is also incredibly important. Some of the people in our care are very vulnerable, frightened and depend very much on our support. They may be worried about saying that things are not right, for fear of the repercussions for them and their care. While we would never expect our staff to treat someone differently because they have been critical of the service, it matters that people feel safe giving us their honest feedback.
And it’s not all about negative feedback – compliments and positive feedback are just as important. Most of the feedback we receive is very positive and on top of the pleasure of being able to share this with our staff, we can also learn a lot from positive feedback about what makes the biggest difference to people and what really matters.
If you want to read a little more on the importance of feedback for the NHS, here are some papers and web pages you might find interesting:
- King’s Fund paper on Using Patient Feedback to drive Improvement
- NHS England’s Patient Experience Improvement Framework
- Care Opinion’s Mission Statement
- Health Services Journal (HSJ) article on Why Patients Are Reluctant To Give Feedback
How can you share your feedback with us?
There are two main ways you can share feedback with us – you can remain anonymous with both:
This is the best option if you have don’t have much time and want to give quick, simple feedback. The survey has less than 10 questions and space for you to write what was good and what could have been better in your own words.
You will be asked at the start if you are a service user or a carer/family member, and directed to the appropriate questions.
Fill in our survey on a paper form
(Please ask a member of staff if you cannot find one in your service)
This is the best option if you prefer to share the story of your experiences with the NHS. You might want to give lots of detail about the care you’ve received, or share feedback which spans multiple interactions with our services, or with services provided by different organisations.
Care Opinion is the independent NHS feedback website, run by a team in Sheffield. Care Opinion publishes feedback about NHS services across the country and we receive a notification when someone shares a story about our services. We are able to respond.
Share your story online: www.careopinion.org.uk/youropinion
Share your story on a paper form
(Please ask a member of staff if you cannot find one in your service)
Call the Care Opinion team in Sheffield on 0800 122 3135
There are number of other ways that you can share feedback with Notts Healthcare, some are specific to certain services:
- the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) https://www.nottinghamshirehealthcare.nhs.uk/patient-advice-and-liaison-service
- a formal complaint (how to submit a formal complaint to the Trust [LINK])
- directly to a member of staff, in person or via email/phone call
- via a patient or carer forum run by the service you are in contact with (please ask a member of staff for details – not all services run forums)
- by speaking to a volunteer – volunteers operate in many services, and most are very knowledgeable about how you can provide feedback so will be able to advise you. We have Patient Experience Volunteers who go into services with the specific task of capturing feedback.
- by becoming an Involvement Volunteer yourself
What happens to your feedback?
The most important thing to know is that every bit of feedback we receive is read by staff and helps to improve our services.
There are some fundamental principles that inform our approach to feedback:
- The NHS should be honest and open about people’s experiences and what people are saying about publicly funded services, even when it is hard to hear. We publish as much of our feedback as we can.
- We genuinely take feedback seriously. Lots of organisations say this but do very little with their feedback. We collect feedback because we want to understand what it’s like to be a service user or carer, and because we want to make things better for everyone.
- Feedback should be easy to give and you should be able to tell us about what matters to you. We ask some questions in our survey but importantly we leave you lots of space to tell us what was good and what could have been better, in your own words.
Here’s what happens to your feedback…
When you share your feedback via our survey:
- You share your story on a paper form or online.
- Your feedback is read by members of the Involvement, Experience and Volunteering Team. They analyse what you have said to understand which service/s you’ve been in contact with, how critical or complimentary you are about those services and which elements of care you are particularly commenting on. This information is used to give quick summaries of all the feedback a service has received.
- We publish your feedback (unless you have asked us not to) on our ‘Your Feedback Matters’ website. We publish your comments exactly as you shared them with us.
When you share your feedback via Care Opinion:
- You share your feedback via Care Opinion, on a paper form, online or by calling their team.
- Your feedback is read, analysed and moderated by members of the Care Opinion team (read more about how Care Opinion moderate stories). This is done independently of our Trust.
- Care Opinion publish your feedback on their website, and staff from the relevant service are notified of a new story. They are able to respond to your story on the website (if you provide an email address, you will receive a notification from Care Opinion). We repost your story on our Your Feedback Matters website too.
Whether you share your feedback via our survey or on Care Opinion:
- Anybody is able to read feedback about Notts Healthcare – we think it’s very important to be honest about what we’re doing well and what we need to improve. Our staff working in services read their feedback and are expected to listen without defensiveness, wherever possible using what you have said to praise staff, improve services and improve how we care for people.
- Every service produces a report every six months to tell us what they have changed as a result of feedback.
We share as much as we can about how our services are using feedback, so that you know your feedback matters, and it makes a difference.
Does anything change as a result of feedback?
Feedback has been invaluable in improving our services – both by highlighting exemplary care that other staff and services can learn from, and by highlighting what hasn’t gone well so that we can address it and make things better.
Below is a list of the ways we try to let our service users and their families and carers know how their feedback has made a difference:
Your Feedback Matters – the website
In 2013 we were lucky to be selected as one of the winning organisations in The National Patient Feedback Challenge (section 8 of the book), run by NHS Improvement. As part of our project, we pitched that we would build a patient feedback website, on which we would publish all our feedback within the month that it was received. The intention was to make feedback quickly and openly available to staff so that they could use it to improve care, and as an organisation we would be completely transparent about what people were saying about our services.
When we pitched the idea, we weren’t really sure we could do it – but we did!
We were the first NHS organisation to publish all their feedback, in our patients and families/carers own words. There are still very few organisations that do this – seven years on!
On the website you can:
- Share feedback (via the survey and Care Opinion)
- Read all our feedback (about a specific service or group of services, shared within a certain timeframe, about a certain element of care (for example,
- Read about how feedback is making a difference to services