Isn’t it exciting to be here at the start of another new decade: this time of year can be a time to reflect on what’s gone and what is to come?
I have been reflecting on my nine years with Care Opinion. It’s been an absolute joy to watch the growth of Care Opinion across Scotland. I am so proud to have been part of the team, and by that, I mean the Care Opinion team, health and care staff, colleagues in government, Parliament, third sector and the public, who have made system wide online feedback in Scotland a reality. No-one else will ever be first!
And it has been possible because there has been a collective will and genuine commitment to embed the citizen voice in health and social care, not just because the Christie Commission and the Patient’s Rights Act said so, though the latter provided the crucial legislative impetus, but because it is the right thing to do. Derek Feeley (pictured), the former chief executive of NHS Scotland, and now CEO at internationally renowned Institute for Healthcare Improvement, talked during his time at the helm in Scotland about the NHS being based on cooperation and collaboration. I believe that the success of Care Opinion in Scotland is evidence of the pursuit of that honourable approach.
Unusual lyrical waxing from Gina Alexander? Indeed!
I have also been reflecting on the future for Care Opinion and for me. Here comes my trademark phrase “there’s still lots to do” and there is! We need to invigorate use of Care Opinion across social care, building on the success in healthcare. Even across healthcare, there’s still plenty to do to raise staff awareness. But happily, on an almost daily basis, we are now contacted by teams saying, “can we use Care Opinion?”
And above all, we all need to work continuously to encourage people to share their stories. Although 2019 saw a 16% increase in stories about Scottish services, relatively speaking 4300 stories is not a lot compared to the number of daily interactions.
The last nine years have been the most wonderful, challenging, inspiring and rewarding of my professional life to date. I have been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, to have led the growth of Care Opinion in Scotland, along the way developing relationships with some of the most awe-inspiring, hardworking people.
I have become increasingly convinced that the time is now right for refreshment and renewal and so I have decided to move on from Care Opinion. As you can imagine it hasn’t been an easy decision to make but I do feel the time is right for a change. My wonderful colleagues are sad but have been so supportive and appreciative of my decision.
I plan to remain in post until 31 March 2020 at the latest. But I hope and expect that my involvement with Care Opinion, in some capacity, will extend far beyond that. James is already pondering a ceremonial title for me to make me sound suitably ancient.
Of course, there will be the inevitable transition period as we explore the opportunities this change brings to our structure and operations. Throughout this period, you can be assured that Care Opinion’s high standards of service to patients and staff, online and offline, will be maintained exactly as before.
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Update from Care Opinion Scotland
Posted by Gina Alexander, Director, Care Opinion Scotland, Care Opinion, on
Response from Eunice Goodwin, Patient Feedback Manager for NHS Ayrshire and Arran, Quality Improvement and Governance Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran on 28 Jan 2020 at 09:29
Well Gina, they may be small shoes in size, but they will be enormously difficult to fill. You have helped and supported me in my Care Opinion Journey (like you have for so many). My heartfelt thanks to you and the team (past and present) and I wish you all the best in all your future endeavours, you will be brilliant whatever you do. :-)
Response from Thomas Moan, Development Worker, Partnership for Change on 29 Jan 2020 at 11:16
Hi Gina, sorry to hear that you are moving on to pastures new. Thanks for all the help that you have given Partnership for Change to extend the Care Opinion subscription to cover all health & social care services across North Lanarkshire, you have helped us to make great progress so far. Now that we are in the implementation phase, your ongoing assistance before you leave Care Opinion is much appreciated, and you can be reassured that I will continue to keep the pressure on so that we maintain the high level of engagement with Care Opinion in Lanarkshire.
Response from Tony Fisher, Team Manager, Community Care Services, North Ayrshire Council on 2 Feb 2020 at 20:45
Sad news from a personal point of view but tempered with the excitement of what the new pastures may look like for you.
I have no doubts that you will go on to do whatever you really fancy and I would like to thank you on behalf of the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership for your guidance, dedication and general interest in what we have been trying to achieve.
Look forward to seeing you in March
Response from Julie Tait, Patient Experience Officer, NHS Orkney on 14 Feb 2020 at 09:05
Sorry to hear you are leaving Gina. You will be a huge miss. Wishing you all the best for what lies ahead.
Response from Margaret Mary Cowan, Clinical Services Manager, Kilbryde on 14 Feb 2020 at 09:05
I'm sad that you are leaving as you have done so much to help Kilbryde Hospice get on board with Care Opinion. I am however delighted that you have the opportunity to explores pastures new. Thanks for all you have done for us and best of luck in the future.
Margaret Mary and the entire Kilbryde Hospice team