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Health services have a duty to listen to people

Update from Bromley Healthcare

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picture of Jonathan Lewis

Bromley Healthcare has subscribed to Patient Opinion since 2014.

I want to know what is happening in our services and how patients are experiencing them. Of course, we use the Friends and Family Test (FFT). We are joint top for FFT in London and very high in the UK, so our FFT feedback is overwhelmingly positive. But I also know we are not perfect, and I want to know where we can do even better.

As the CEO I can’t be everywhere all at once. For me, Patient Opinion lights a candle in parts of the organisation I can’t see myself. It helps us to see things we otherwise couldn’t see. It is voluntary for patients to leave feedback on the site, and we receive more critical comments than we do with FFT. Over 70% of stories we have had through Patient Opinion have been entirely positive, which is great, but I like the critical comments.

These stories give us some of that texture that is missing from FFT

These stories give us some of that texture that is missing from FFT. They help us see where there are problems for us to fix. My approach to them is very matter of fact: where a patient or family member has highlighted a problem I will respond to their concerns and fix the issue. I tend to think more like a patient than a health professional in this regard. As patient, I think “I am paying for this service so I expect a direct and speedy response”. We know the NHS can be bad at replying to people sometimes. I would find that so rude.

Our patients are paying for our services and they have taken the time to give us feedback. They should expect a reply, especially when things have not gone to plan. At Bromley Healthcare it is important to us that our patients know we are listening. Look at the responding stats on our service page and you will see we have a 99% response rate to our last 100 stories.

We have over 50 members of staff registered on Patient Opinion to receive alerts to new stories. When I receive an alert to a story complimenting a member of staff, I will email that staff member to congratulate them.

We promote Patient Opinion through co-branded “how was your care?” cards and on the front page of our website we invite people to share their story with us. For each of our services, our website shows the latest Patient Opinion stories, the patient satisfaction score and the current waiting time in weeks.

I have been pushing transparency for a long time and I think we have to continue to find new ways to be more open. We must remind everyone who runs a health service that it is not a choice, but a duty, to listen to people. We find Patient Opinion helps us to do that.

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