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Scotland's newest Star Responders

Update from Care Opinion Scotland

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About: Angus Health & Social Care Partnership NHS Lanarkshire

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At Care Opinion, each member of our team engages with the stories published on the site. Whether you're in development, business administration, or even handling stories over the phone, we all have the opportunity to read and connect with the stories shared every day. Our close-knit team supports our dedicated moderators, and collectively, we feel privileged to facilitate the connection between authors and the services.

In Scotland, recent statistics show that 96% of stories published on Care Opinion receive responses from the services. It's incredibly heartening to see this number remain consistently high. Year after year, responders from health and social care services engage with authors, often leading to meaningful conversations.

Responding to both positive and critical stories is a nuanced task. One of the first steps when responding to stories, is to 'put yourself in the shoes of the author'. Crafting a response that truly captures the essence of the author's experience takes time as well as a human touch. When we come across a response that encapsulates this, we nominate it for our Star Responder category, choosing only the very best ones. This recognition is reserved for those who consistently provide exceptional and thoughtful responses, demonstrating a high level of empathy and understanding in their interactions with the author.

Our latest Star Responders are Jennifer Montgomery from NHS Lanarkshire and Ally McGurty from Angus Health and Social Care Partnership.

We were delighted to see how Jenni made it look so effortless when responding to more critical stories. She continuously tailor her responses around the author’s story, acknowledging even the smallest details, while showing gratitude, empathy and commitment to patient care. We especially loved this response to an author’s story, where they were sent to Hairmyres Hospital from their GP following very high blood pressure.

We asked Jenni what it means for her to be one of our newest Star Responders and she said: 

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It is really important to me that responses to stories for NHS Lanarkshire continue the person-centred care that our clinical staff deliver daily and are personal to that author. They have taken time to carefully tell us their story and experience, so I always aim to respond in a personal manner. It is also really encouraging to pass on patient feedback to staff and show them their hard work and dedication is valued. Since starting as the operational lead for NHS Lanarkshire earlier this year I have seen many changes starting to be implemented by staff as a result of patient feedback which is encouraging to see. Being recognised as a star responder is an amazing achievement for me and I am so proud that my responses were up to the high standards to get star responder badge. I am wearing it with pride and using my knowledge and skills to help other responders provide high-quality, person-centred responses too.

Our latest Star responder from among the Partnerships, is Ally. We were particularly moved by her response to this story in which the author bravely shared their difficult mental health journey over the years. Ally’s words even brought tears to our eyes. She acknowledged the person’s strength and resilience in facing their challenges, demonstrating high level of empathy. The response ends with a warm and sincere wish for the person to continue their journey with strength and courage.

We also asked Ally about what it means for her to be one of our newest Star Responder and she said:

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It is an honour to be given a star responder award on behalf of the Angus Mental Health service. Care Opinion has been a valuable way of receiving feedback from a wide range of people who use our service. They have taken the time to share their difficult journeys and experiences, finding the time to thank the staff, which in turn, boosts morale and motivation within the service. We are deeply grateful for all of the feedback we have received, and I am genuinely humbled by their stories which enables us as a team to reflect and implement any changes required. Care Opinion has given people with mental health challenges an additional voice, we want to continue listening to that voice and working in partnership with our service users.

Sally Wilson, Executive Lead for Angus Health and Social Care Partnership also acknowledged Ally being one of our newest Star responder and said the following:

We are absolutely delighted to learn that Ally has been selected to be a Star Responder, this is so well deserved. Ally and her colleagues in the Community Mental Health Team provide such a valuable service to so many people and we are so grateful that people have taken the time to share their experiences. Empathy, care and compassion shine through in all of Ally's responses. Thank you and well done Ally!

Both Jenni and Ally have a remarkable way with words. Their dedication, compassion, and commitment shine through in their interactions with authors. Their responses go beyond words; they offer solace, encouragement, and a genuine connection. We're inspired by their contributions, and we're always on the lookout for individuals who possess these exceptional qualities.

Could you be our next Star Responder, making a difference in the lives of those who share their stories?

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