How the Involvement Team bridges the gap between service users and Care Opinion in high secure services

Update from Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

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About: Rampton Hospital

Around 10 years ago I volunteered for Nottinghamshire Healthcare at our Involvement Centre in Nottingham. After two years I got the chance to apply for a role as Involvement Development Worker when we opened another centre called The Rosewood Involvement Centre in North Nottinghamshire. When I got the job I couldn’t believe it!   A year later I was promoted to the role of Centre Manager until February 2017.

Over the years we have developed support from the Involvement Team and our volunteers in all of our services but my area of specialism is in forensics involvement.

I linked some of my work around feedback to Wathwood Hospital and eventually Rampton Hospital. I have been supported well by staff from Forensic Services and experienced increasing success relating to involvement in the two hospitals. This has been about placing our volunteers at the heart of relevant meetings and patient forums for example, providing support and training for involving patients in interviews.

Feedback has always been important to me from National Surveys to Care Opinion. I have always tried hard to get meaningful feedback from patients with action plans from staff to improve services.

We must be doing something right as from February 2017 I took on a new role of Involvement and Experience Lead for Forensic Services. I now get to work in all Forensic services. I am trying hard to do the same everywhere in the division. It’s going well!  It’s a great way to collect feedback. Care Opinion brings openness and honesty to stories about patient care and even better, we get to resolve issues, make changes and tell staff when they have done a great job.

Why do you use Care Opinion?

One of the reasons I like to use Care Opinion is that I am a service user myself. Lived experience is vital and services can draw on service user experiences to improve what they do. Everyone should be listened to. Care Opinion offers a public platform for this.

In high secure services where there is no access to social media or the internet, the Involvement Team were able to bridge the gap between service users and Care Opinion. This made sure that service user stories were shared on the Care Opinion website and responded to.

How did you use Care Opinion in forensic services?

We were invited by Adele Bryan, the Interim General Manager for Mental Health and National Learning Disability Directorate, to speak to people on the wards about their care. Adele devised prompts to use to start conversations. These were issues raised at the patient experience forum or through complaints and focused on asking people if the patient felt safe and cared for and what were their good or bad experiences.

Patients in the service know me and the volunteers; we have built up trust over the years and patients are open with us and they can chat about any issues without worry. We tested the water before this, collecting feedback about general satisfaction but this was the first time we went in to ask people specifically about their care.

What were the outcomes?

We collected 20 stories to start with and staff responded to them. I personally check this. It’s important for people to get a prompt response if they have taken the time to speak about their experiences.  Adele has put a number of things in place based on the feedback received and there is an action plan regarding the issue of bullying as this came up a number times.

All the stories and responses and were printed and put in a folder at Southwell day centre in Rampton. Everyone can read the comments and see the replies. But it was not just left there.

I present regularly at the Forensic Governance Group. A third of the presentation is about stories on Care Opinion. I share the number of stories but also the public views showing the reach of the stories outside of Nottinghamshire Healthcare. I remind them that some stories go to the Parliamentary Oversight Committee and to the Clinical Commissioning Group. I do this to show that collecting feedback from patients is not tokenistic but vital for service delivery and improvements.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare aim to respond to feedback on Care Opinion within two days. I highlight any comments that have no response creating some interesting debates between services! Some have increased their staff members on the Care Opinion subscription to make sure they have someone available to respond quickly.

What’s next?

 At a trust board meeting recently I shadowed the Head of Involvement as he presented our Patient Voice Report about Rampton. Paul explained that Care Opinion postings from the learning disability service at Rampton Hospital were on the up. The board have been fantastic and very supportive of the work of the involvement volunteers and our work. It shows we are an organisation unafraid to tackle difficult issues.

When I am logged into our Care Opinion subscription I can see who is reading and responding. I see that Adele responds but also that other people across the trust are reading the stories and responses. I hope this encourages them not to be worried about online feedback in forensic services and that we have developed a process that works well for patients and staff. We’ve had some really interesting stories from the Personality Disorder Service with great replies too.

This is helping to change services, lives and culture

Care Opinion empowers us to do more. It has created really good outcome from volunteers giving their time. We can make a difference and make sure people are listened to. We have dates booked up to March 2018 to collect Care Opinion feedback on different wards within Rampton Hospital.

Our long-term goal is to have regular Care Opinion events throughout the year and tie this into our service user carer surveys. This will make sure that we have something happening regularly and mean we can pick up any themes from the survey. We share all this feedback on our own feedback website. Your Feedback Matters

‘Real time’ feedback from our patients is important to us in our trust. I am very grateful for the wonderful support from staff in forensic services. This is helping to change services, lives and culture for patients.

Response from Phil Griffiths, Griffiths Phil - Head of Healthcare, HMP Nottingham, Offender Healthcare on

Keep up the good work Nigel, and thanks for everything you continue to do in supporting us in Offender Health.

You've been central to much of our success over these past 12 months. It's clear to me that we wouldn't be where we are now, had you not been around to offer us all as much advice, guidance and motivation as you have done. Thanks again.


Response from Nigel Groves, Involvement and Experience Lead, Forensic Services, Involvement Team, Nottinghamshire Health care Trust on

The work we are doing with Offender Health is moving forward at a great positive pace. I am very great full for all the support from all the involvement champions in our HMP sites. Thanks Phil. Hopefully we can start to look at Care opinion postings to add to the great returns of the SUCE ( service user carer Experience) surveys which I would congratulate you all on an ever increasing number of returns and subsequent Action plans. Fab 

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