Our day with the commissioners

Update from Care Opinion

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picture of Ben Pathe

Last week we held a workshop for commissioners in our home town of Sheffield. You can catch some of the flavour of the day (including the obligatory PO cakes!) from Twitter #pocomm14. 8 different organisations were represented in the room including 6 CCGs, 1 CSU and 1 Healthwatch. There was a core Yorkshire presence but people also took the trouble to travel from the North East, Greater Manchester and the East of England to join us.

The aim of the workshop was two fold: to make sure commissioners understood the functionality and possibilities of Patient Opinion and more importantly to brainstorm and share best practices amongst peers. This was the first time we had done this and it was brilliant to see truly interactive sessions with everyone in the room participating in discussions. Attendees seemed to find it genuinely helpful to hear from others who faced exactly the same daily challenges and issues as they did. 

The day itself provided a number of significant take homes:

  1. Commissioners are frustrated when providers take a tokenisitic, reactive approach to online feedback.
  2. Similarly they find generic, template based provider responses at the very least inadequate and in some cases insulting. 
  3. Their preference is to see providers proactively embracing online feedback and to see them genuinely listening, acting and making changes wherever possible. 
  4. Peer support between commissioners seems to be typically regional and any opportunities to learn and share on a national level should be promoted and embraced.
  5. There is a genuine desire among commissioners to improve services locally but they are in many cases overstretched, underresourced and juggling many balls at the same time.

Direct outcomes from our workshop included:

  1. 2 CCGs agreeing to do some intensive patient experience work together around a local pain management service.
  2. Another CCG using PO blogging as a patient engagement tool around service reconfiguration.
  3. A CCG devised implementation plan for PO being shared with all attendees.

I would personally like to thank everyone who came along for their candour, good humour and enthusiasm. I find meeting the people we work with really inspiring and it always makes me want to go that extra mile to support them and help them. 

We have high hopes for our next regional commissioner event in Norwich on May 13th. Feel free to contact ben.pathe@patientopinion.org.uk if you want further information about this. 

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