Recommendation 254

National consistency of access to patient and public comments

Accepted
While there are likely to be many different gateways offered through which patient and public comments can be made, to avoid confusion, it would be helpful for there to be consistency across the country in methods of access, and for the output to be published in a manner allowing fair and informed comparison between organisations.

Feedback from patients, carers and the public can be made on the quality of care through a range of technologies and channels including online, via bedside televisions, surveys and the friends and family test.

The NHS Constitution pledges that the NHS will encourage and welcome feedback on your health and care experiences and use this to improve services.  Similarly, the Mandate for NHS England states that NHS England will consider how to make it easier for patients and carers to give feedback and see reviews by other people so that timely, easy to review feedback on NHS Services becomes the norm.

A number of organisations already exist that enable patients, carers and the public to provide online feedback about their care.  This includes, but is not limited to, Patient Opinion, NHS Choices, Good Care Guide and iWantGreatCare.  NHS England will make such comments accessible in a coherent and consistent way through NHS Choices.

Update

Ensuring that patients, carers and the public can give feedback on the quality of care is an on-going commitment.  The 2014-15 NHS Mandate sets out how there will be rapid progress in measuring and understanding how people really feel about the care they receive and taking action to address poor performance.

In July 2014 NHS England published a Review of the Friends and Family Test which found that Friends and Family Test is performing well as a service improvement tool, with 85% of trusts reporting that it is being used to improve patient experience, and 78% saying that Friends and Family Test has increased the emphasis placed on patient experience in their trusts. In particular, the open-ended follow-up question is proving a rich source of patient views at ward and Accident and Emergency departmental level that can be used, where implemented, to highlight best practice and identify and address concerns. NHS England is working with NHS Choices to look at ways to enhance the presentation and profile of the Friends and Family Test data for patients and the public to use.

A number of organisations already enable patients, carers and the public to provide online feedback about their care. NHS England will make such comments accessible through a new national Health & Social Care Digital Service, which will be replacing NHS Choices. The new online service will bring together the most reliable and relevant data from national web services and act as a ‘front door’ to the best information on health and social care on the internet.

Results from the Friends and Family Test are published monthly in all acute inpatient services, Accident and Emergency and in maternity.

The first set of Friends and Family Test results from NHS staff were published in September. The Friends and Family Test was rolled out in general practice, community and mental health services by December 2014 and is on track to be rolled out in the remainder of NHS services as appropriate by March 2015.

So far more than 5 million Patient Friends and Family Test responses have been collected; 4.5 million responses have been collected from Accident and Emergency and inpatients, and more than 551,000 from maternity patients. The second Staff Friends and Family Test was run from July to September 2014 and more than 141,000 staff from 242 service providers submitted Staff Friends and Family Test responses.