Does feedback really matter at the moment?

To download the feedback poster to display in your services, please click the download button below:

The short answer is yes, of course. We have always cared about the experience of our patients when they come into contact with our services. We care just as much now.

The long answer is articulated perfectly by Dr James Munro, CEO of Care Opinion:

In a pandemic, does patient feedback still matter?

Dr James Munro, CEO of Care Opinion

More so than usual, our own and our loved ones’ collective experiences with health care services have become so critical. It’s important we know what it’s like to be a patient or a carer at the moment, especially as social distancing and isolation limits the amount of communication we’re all having, with health services and with each other.

How are we adapting to capture feedback from patients and carers at the moment?

  • Survey forms and the use of shared tablets

National guidance has advised against the use of survey forms and tablets (which hold a risk of virus transmission) so we are no longer supplying services with survey forms as we usually would. We have asked all services to cease using tablets to capture feedback.

We are also not processing forms which have been sent back to us during this time – we’re sorry that if you did complete a survey form in the very final week or so before lockdown, we will not have been able to process it just yet but it will not be lost, we will get to it as soon as we’re back in our offices.

We have new survey forms in the making (exciting, at least to us!) – they were close to finished before lockdown but we’ve made some final amends since. We will have them printed and ready to distribute to services once all this is over and we can commence using forms again safely.

Our new feedback survey forms, in development
  • Patients in the community, and those with access to the internet (via computer or mobile phone)

Our online survey

We’ve revised and relaunched our online survey. We’ve always offered the option to fill in our survey online (here), but very few people accessed it that way – most people used the forms they picked up in services, or had the help of a patient experience volunteer. It’s more important now, while we’re not using forms and tablets, that people have the means to fill in our survey using their own devices (phones, tablets, computers). We have a new poster going out to services which very prominently promotes the use of mobile phones to provide feedback, with QR codes and shortened links to make it all very easy.

Fill in our survey online

The survey is short and simple, with less than 10 questions and space to tell us what was good and what could have been better in your own words. You can remain anonymous – we don’t ask for your name and the demographic information we ask for is not used to identify you. It would take most people just a few minutes – we’d really encourage you to use the survey to let us know what it’s been like for you to interact with our services.

Care Opinion

As ever, you can also share your story on Care Opinion. We work with Care Opinion because they’re all about listening to patients, carers’ and families’ stories, in their own words, and giving the NHS the opportunity to listen and act upon the feedback.

The easiest way to share your story on Care Opinion is to follow the link below (this is also on the new posters):

Share your story about Notts Healthcare on Care Opinion

You can also call the Care Opinion team (in Sheffield) on 0800 122 3135 if you’d prefer to speak your story to them. They’ll then write it up and share it on the website on your behalf.

Feedback following a video/online consultation

Lots of our services have changed how they’re supporting people, with many now attempting to check in with people and support them over video/online consultation. We’re starting to think about how our services could share the links for the survey and Care Opinion after all video/online consultations, so that it’s really quick and easy for someone, while they have a device (like their phone or laptop) in their hand, to quickly share some feedback.

Feedback via text message

Again, this is something that we were already doing before lockdown. Some of our services already send texts out to patients after appointments to ask for their feedback but lots of services have said they’d like to try this. It’s a bit of work to get services set up on the text messaging service but in the services that have tried it so far, it’s worked very well (not least due to the work and persistence of Lori, AphA’s ‘Analyst of the year’ 2019, working in our Trust, no less!).

In the long term, we intend to roll this out for any service who wants to use texts, but at the moment we’re focussing on getting the teams who’ve already expressed an interest up and running.

If you’re a service who wants to try feedback by text message, please contact me (Amy Gaskin-Williams) and we’ll see what we can do!

  • Patients in our hospitals and units without easy access to the internet

This is a bit of a worry to us. We can’t provide forms, we shouldn’t be using tablets, most people don’t have free access to their phones or technologu and therefore can’t access to the internet to complete the survey or use Care Opinion.

The risk is that the voice of our inpatients is currently not being heard, and that problems and poor experiences may not be being addressed.

We have flagged the risk and we’ve asked services to be creative and to think about how they could ensure patients have a way to give feedback – even if it’s not possible at the moment for it to be anonymous.

Things are changing so quickly at the moment, hopefully we’ll soon come up with something that works – this might mean allowing limited numbers of volunteers back into our COVID-free wards, in a safe and controlled way, to ensure that people have an opportunity to voice any worries.

This isn’t just about capturing when things have gone wrong…

When things get a bit strained, as they are at the moment, it’s easy to default to thinking of feedback as people’s opportunity to criticise and raise an issue. Feedback is every bit as much about compliments and sharing praise.

Our staff are working incredibly hard, not only to keep everyone safe from a pandemic but also to do the day job of caring for and supporting people with mental and physical health problems, and learning disabilities. Just as in normal circumstances, we have thousands of amazing staff doing amazing things and it’s really important that we capture some of those stories too – for morale, and also to learn about what it takes to go above and beyond for people at the moment.

We are really encouraging people to share a quick bit of feedback (or a story, if you can) about how staff have impressed you, gone the extra mile or shown their professional devotion and compassion. If you have a great example, please share it – via the survey or on Care Opinion.

Let us know if you’ve thought of something we haven’t…

As ever, we’re open to ideas. Our services are very varied, from community services providing care to people in their own homes to high secure wards – what works well in one place is unlikely to suit another. Lots of organisations are working to tackle the same challenges at the moment – ensuring that people have an opportunity to give feedback when most methods are restricted is one of them.

Also, we’d be delighted to hear how our services are adapting, how they’re maintaining that curiosity and commitment to listening that we proudly profess about Notts Healthcare, and that we know is true.  

Stay safe everyone, and please keep sharing your feedback with us – it matters, and it makes a difference.

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