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A Cornish progress story!

Update from Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

Posted by on

picture of Jenny Thomas

Hello from sunny Cornwall! My name is Jenny Thomas and I am a proud Patient + Family Experience Manager at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT).

What a 6 months it has been. 2018 is going scarily fast in itself but with the exciting changes happening at RCHT from 1 April this year, it seems the months are flying by at light speed!

One of those exciting changes was of course our expansion of Care Opinion. Since last year my team had taken on board the online feedback platforms and started to respond to each story and then share this with staff involved; however, as much as this was generating useful feedback, there was something missing. Where does the feedback go? Is it leading to change?  Are we being responsive enough?

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Luckily our Head of Patient Experience, Frazer Underwood, and Chief Nurse, Kim O'Keeffe, are passionate about patient stories and were equally excited about what Care Opinion could do for both staff engagement and patient engagement at our Trust. We expanded our package in April and before long were put in touch with Sarah and Cally on the Care Opinion team. They have been wonderful, really helping us to make the most of our subscription.

Now it was time to spread the word, and with hundreds of staff and not many of them knowing about Care Opinion, we knew we had a huge task ahead.  We were able to implement a project in our 'Strong Governance' workstream that planned the roll out of Care Opinion. This was really useful in helping us to focus on which areas we needed to target, starting with the areas that saw the most Care Opinion activity and where we could really start using the stories. We also quickly highlighted the benefits of Care Opinion to our senior nurses who were enthusiastic and signed up straight away.

We put together two guides - one for Responders and one for Subscribers. Both guides provide an overview of Care Opinion and step-by-step advice on how to use it. With the Responders guide, we include a short quiz that staff can complete in order to gain Responder status, following which we provide a lovely certificate! We also utilise social media and this helps both spread the word and engage and motivate more staff. 

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We are trying to get to as many staff meetings and training sessions as possible to spread the word, but the guides help us reach even more staff than our capacity allows. Almost 6 months into our subscription we have 115 staff members as either Subscribers or Responders. We also have a fully engaged Trust Board, to which we have taken examples of Care Opinion patient stories that have led to changes.  Feedback from staff involved so far has been really positive with comments such as: the website is easy to use, it looks great, it's so nice to be able to respond personally to patient stories.

But of course, we want MORE! We want more patients and visitors telling their story, we want more staff using Care Opinion and of course we want to see more change.  The green dots are increasing, but there is so much more we can do.

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As for our next steps, we are continuing to spread the word throughout our Trust, and helping our staff to use Care Opinion to its full potential.  My next focus will be to engage the doctors here, as I know there are many who would get a lot out of it.  My questions for anyone reading this blog are:

- Are there any Trusts who have successfully involved medical staff in becoming Responders on Care Opinion? If so, who?

- Are there any medical staff reading this blog who could share some of their thoughts and experiences with Care Opinion?

I am now off to finish our first internal Care Opinion newsletter - something we hope to continue monthly to help us to widely promote and share the stories and the changes happening!  We have a new team member on board, Jess Saunders, who is equally as excited about Care Opinion and hopefully will share some thoughts with you all soon.

Thanks for reading.


Response from James Munro, Chief executive, Care Opinion on

Hi Jenny

How fantastic to read about your journey to date. Thank you for blogging this - lots of people will want to learn from your experiences so far.

I agree that involving medical staff is essential. Unlike some, I think that doctors are (mostly) very interested in the experiences of their patients, and keen to learn and make improvements.

There are some doctors who are brilliant Care Opinion responders and supporters of this kind of public online feedback. For example:

Maybe any doctors who are using Care Opinion, in any capacity, could post a response here (or on Twitter) with any thoughts they have on how to involve more medical staff?

This blog post is closed to responses.