Patient feedback can drive positive change, but only if we listen

Patient feedback can drive positive change, but only if we listen

Fliss Swift, patient experience lead at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), is more passionate than most about gathering patient feedback. I have been lucky enough to work for the NHS for 27 years, with most of these in a patient experience capacity, and so it is fair to say I know the value that patient feedback can provide. In times of change, it is crucial to ensure communication between service providers and patients is effective, and that patients, along with their families and carers, are given the opportunity to provide feedback. But when it comes to patient feedback, a trust should not rest on its laurels — it should be looking at  data and patient feedback on a routine basis, particularly given the volatile nature of patient satisfaction levels across the health and care estate. Hearing a patient say how grateful they are is very powerful, and we play some of the positive feedback at staff meetings because it encourages good practice. I have also played less positive feedback at board meetings, which has led to some real tumbleweed moments when a patient is sharing their frustrations about the care they have received. Whether it is a serious complaint or something small, all feedback can collectively make a significant difference to patient experience. On the theme of feedback, one area in the patient experience cycle that can often be overlooked is the importance of sharing actions that have been taken following feedback. Patient feedback is such a powerful tool for positive change.

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