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Primary care in Hackney


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City and Hackney GP confederation is a social enterprise that was established in 2014. All 39 GP practices covering over 307,000 patients are members. Its aim is to make a positive difference in the quality of primary care and to provide a voice for primary care in the development and redesign of services.

In June 2018, the City and Hackney GP Confederation embarked on a pilot of the Care Opinion feedback system in general practices across East London. Initially, 10 self-selected practices promoted Care Opinion and encouraged patients to share their experiences of care via the Care Opinion website, adding staff to the subscriptions and enabling them to respond to the feedback online.

The decision to pilot Care Opinion came about after many attempts to better understand the experiences of patients. As Caroline Miller, Lay Board member of the Confed puts it:  

“Our methodology was well-intentioned, but the data derived after many, many hours of hassling patients and collecting their responses was a bit ‘so what?’”

At first, there was some resistance amongst GPs and practice staff. Understandably they were concerned that staff may be publicly identified, that staff morale could be impacted, and that another demand would be placed on their already stretched time and resources.

Recognising these anxieties, the Confed spent some time preparing the ground and promoting the idea to their GPs and practice managers, as well as getting their own board onside. The launch of the pilot coincided with a programme of customer service training we ran in July 2018 for all 400 frontline staff.

Between the start of the pilot and April 2019, 81 stories were posted across the ten practices, and were read over 1,400 times. The biggest surprise to all the practices was that over two-thirds of the stories were entirely positive.

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Visualisation generated from feedback stories about the 22 GP surgeries to date. This shows what has been good about the services.

As of October 2021, 22 of the 39 practices within City and Hackney signed up for the subscription to Care Opinion, actively promoting the website to encourage feedback.  

Over the course of our working relationship with the Confed, Care Opinion has provided online training sessions to all 22 practices, including monthly drop-in sessions for practice staff, and supported Confed-led quarterly review meetings.

Care Opinion and these practices have developed good working relationships. With an increasing understanding of Care Opinion and who we are, practices have trusted us more and we have been able to work more closely together.

We have seen some of the practices become passionate about Care Opinion and embrace online feedback, embedding Care Opinion into their weekly practice.

Watch the video below to hear about Deputy Practice Manager at the Lawson practice, Amanda Raynor's experiences of Care Opinion. 

We have seen some great outcomes in terms of staff using site features to benefit their working practices. For example, we know of a GP that is utilising one of Care Opinions’ newest features, Invitation links in their revalidation process. They can invite feedback, privately, about their own practice and this can then form part of their revalidation. Find out about how Care Opinion can support clinical revalidation. 

Since 2018, there have been over 900 stories shared about the 22 practices within the City and Hackney confed. 27 of these stories have a change that has been planned or made. There have been 816 responses to these stories, giving an average of an 82.6% responsiveness rate.

All in all, the work that the City and Hackney practices have done with Care Opinion has been a real triumph and something that we hope they will continue in the future.

If you would like to read more about the City and Hackney pilot, then head over to blogs about City and Hackney.

If you are an organisation based anywhere in the UK and you are interested in finding out more about a subscription, then email the address below, and we will direct you to the right member of the Care Opinion team: