Evolving to become Care Opinion: frequently asked questions

Summary

Over the past 12 years, Care Opinion has pioneered a new approach for people to share their stories of care, and for staff to learn how their patients feel. Our non-profit service has helped resolve issues, restore relationships, encourage staff and improve services in many parts of the UK.

As health and social care services across the UK continue to evolve and integrate, so we are merging our two services – Care Opinion – into a single integrated and simplified service. One online feedback platform will handle stories from everyone, whether they are about health or social care services.

Our new name will reflect this unified approach: Care Opinion.

General questions

Why are you doing this? What is the motivation?

Care Opinion has always been a platform for sharing the experiences of patients – and increasingly also stories from people who don’t think of themselves as patients at all. For example, women using maternity care, people using mental health care, drug or alcohol services often avoid using “patient” to describe themselves.And when we expanded our service to include social care, it was clear that people living in care homes or using home care services would not see themselves as patients, which is why we called this new service Care Opinion.

In recent years, there has been a new emphasis on integrating health and social care services. Our Care Opinion service will span health and social care and provide an integrated feedback platform which fits well with this new world.

Why did you choose Care Opinion as your name, instead of Care Opinion?

We wanted a name which would include as many people as possible: those who see themselves as patients, and those who don’t. The one thing everyone posting on Care Opinion has in common is an experience of health care or social care. Care Opinion emphasises that we serve both.

What problem is this change trying to solve?

Having two different names for essentially the same service is a problem, and causes confusion. In addition, people using Care Opinion don’t always realise that our platform is already integrated across both health and social care feedback. Two different names sounds like two different services, not one integrated service.

We want everyone to know that we have one name, one platform, and one integrated service.

Is this a cost saving exercise?

Our purpose in doing this isn’t to save money, but to reach more people across health and social care who have an experience they want to share.

Having said that, we think that by having a single name instead of two, we will be able to be more efficient. For example, we will be able to stop printing different materials for health care and social care services.

Are you in financial trouble and can’t afford both PO and CO?

Our purpose in moving to a single name and a single platform is to make things simpler, easier and more straightforward for people posting stories and the staff who read and respond to them. We want people using health or social care services to know that Care Opinion is the one site where they can give feedback and see the difference they, and others, make. And we want staff to know that whatever kind of health or care organisation they work for, Care Opinion can help them hear from those they serve.

How much will this cost?

This change is part of our budgeted plans for 2016/17 and as we are using a rolling process to change/renew materials as needed, there will be no significant additional costs. We will make some small savings over the longer term by bringing CO/PO together under one name.

Who made this decision?

The decision was made by our staff team and supported by our board of directors. We’ve also consulted with a range of our users and subscribers to make sure we are on the right track.

Will the look of Care Opinion’s site change?

The Care Opinion site will get a new name. But in other respects it will hardly change at all. We will keep the same colours, icons and layout. We’ll make it clear that we now cover both health and social care services. It will still be very familiar if you have used it before.

Subscribers

I paid for PO. I don’t want CO that’s just about care

Our service will continue to work for you just as it has always done. Although we are simplifying from two different names to one name, feedback on Care Opinion will continue to span the whole range of health and social care services.

In addition, our materials and our website will make clear to everyone that this is the place for experiences of both health and social care.

I am concerned my staff who respond on PO will be confused by this change

We’ll continue to send email alerts to staff just as we do now. Clicking the link in the alert will bring you to the story online, looking almost the same as it does now. Responding will continue to work in the same way. So although the name of the site will be different, everything else about it will be just the same. Many staff may not even notice the change.

We have materials with the PO logo/website on them

We’ll take a phased approach to the change in name. It will be fine to continue to use materials which are branded with Care Opinion, and we’ll continue to input any postal or telephone stories as we do now.

The Care Opinion website address will still work: we will automatically redirect visitors so they arrive at the Care Opinion site, which will continue to look very much as Care Opinion does now. So patients and carers following the old link will still be in the right place, and whether they have used the site before or not, we expect them to feel at home right away.

Our website has the PO widget installed. Will it break?

Our widgets will automatically update to show the right data, and to link back to Care Opinion. You won’t have to do anything, and the widgets will continue to work properly.

Day to day, what disruption could we expect?

You shouldn’t expect any disruption at all.

Over time, you’ll probably want to update your own materials or documents so that they refer to Care Opinion rather than Care Opinion. All existing web links and widgets will continue to work. It might take a while to get used to saying Care Opinion instead of Care Opinion.

Will we benefit because of the change?

The change won’t involve any immediate new benefits for you. But it will lead to greater understanding that Care Opinion is an integrated service covering health and social care, and so we hope you will benefit from a simpler service, more recognised and more widely used than ever.

I like this! Can I start sharing new Care Opinion materials right away?

You can, but we’d prefer it if you didn’t. It’s best to wait until 1 May 2017, to avoid confusing people with a new logo etc which isn’t available online yet. Also, if you send people to careopinion.org.uk right now, they will still see our orange social care site. From 1 May 2017, that site will appear as our integrated health and social care site, in our familiar purple and pink colours, with our new logo.

Storytellers

Will the website change?

We’ll make a few very small changes to the site to reflect the change in name. But overall, it will still feel the familiar Care Opinion website. You might not even notice the change to begin with.

Whether you search for Care Opinion or Care Opinion, we’ll make sure you get redirected to our one single integrated site.

Is Care Opinion still interested in my story?

Yes, Care Opinion still wants to hear from you, whether your story is about a health care experience or a social care experience. Anything you would have posted on Care Opinion can still be posted on Care Opinion.

I want to tell you about my experience as a patient. It’s not about care, it’s about a medical mistake

Experiences of health care as a patient are part of what Care Opinion is all about. You can post experience of health care services as well as experiences of social care, just as you did before.