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DH publishes guidance on patient feedback

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The Department of Health has published new guidelines to help NHS trusts use patient feedback to improve services.

First outlined by Lord Darzi in the NHS Next Stage Review last year, improving the patient experience is one of the five key priorities of the 2009/10 NHS operating framework.

In November 2008, health secretary Alan Johnson also made a commitment to ensure all NHS trusts collect and use ‘immediate feedback’ to drive service improvement.

The guidance, published yesterday, sets out best practice in terms of collecting, analysing and using patient feedback to improve services.

It also contains case studies of services which are already using ‘real time’ feedback to improve care, such as Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London which uses ward-based electronic surveys to get instant feedback from patients.

Although many NHS trusts already collect patient feedback and use it to improve care, the Department of Health said they want to make this approach ‘the norm’ for all NHS organisations.

Joan Saddler, national director of patient and public affairs at the Department of Health, said: ‘The public have told us what they want; they want services that listen and respond to their individual needs. To deliver this, we must change the way we work, to understand what really matters to patients and base all our decisions on this information.’

Understanding What Matters: a Guide to Using Patient Feedback to Transform Services can be downloaded from the DH website.

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