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Tackling the challenges of responding

Update from Subscriber Support Team

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picture of Kate Williams

Bill Kilvington, (Assistant Director in women and children’s at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust) recently held a guest webinar for Patient Opinion subscribers. He talked about how he approaches responding, the culture of his organisation, and how he fits responding to patients into his work load.

If you couldn’t attend the webex, you can watch it online here. The recording doesn’t include some of the (fantastic!) questions Bill received after his session, but we have included the transcripts below.

How do you find time to respond to stories with your busy schedule?

I find it best to deal with stories asap, as soon as the alert comes in. I might be a bit sad but I do like to check my phone at the weekend. Sometimes I can write a response there and then but some replies may take a little longer than others. The response time can depend on the type of feedback we are getting. Some posts will require further investigation, where I’ll go and talk to members of staff. In the case where I am unable to find out any further information, I’ll encourage the author to contact me directly. That way we can go through the process offline. I think it’s important to the service that stories are responded to quickly.

How do you involve senior members of staff?

I think that it’s vital to incorporate senior members of staff in the responding to feedback process. We include matron level and above. This allows any changes we want to make, based on the feedback, to be implemented effectively service to service. Often, patient feedback is left solely with the PALs team, however its essential that feedback to heard and responded to in a multileveled approach rather than unilaterally. A top down, hands on approach that includes a lot of staff interaction. Additionally, I like to print out good bits of feedback to give to staff if they are mentioned by name.

How to you engage other members staff across the organisation to respond to stories?

As mentioned, I think the inclusion of senior staff has a significant impact in getting others on board. Encouraging staff to be proactive in responding and generating postings are good ways to get more people involved.

Do you find responding to feedback on such a public forum a challenge?

Personally, I think that a reputation hangs on how you deal with problems. Just because a lot of interaction is carried out online does not mean we should lose the human element of responding to feedback. Being open and honest is what we practice day to day, so its important to carry that over to our online responses. Be empathetic and if a mistake has been made, don’t be afraid to apologise

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