NHS Choices, the information website for NHS patients, will be ‘duty bound’ to report individual nurses to their trust if conduct considered dangerous is exposed by a new scheme for patients to post comments about their healthcare experience.
The online initiative, launched last week, encourages patients to post their comments – both negative and positive – about the organisation at which they most recently received treatment. They will also be able to ‘share their experiences with other patients’.
‘We have a duty to act responsibly so, if a comment was supplied that highlighted a potential risk, it would be passed to a line manager to make a decision,’ an NHS Choices spokesperson told Nursing Times.
‘Each comment would be assessed case by case and we would be duty bound to pass the information on to the organisation concerned.’
However, nurses will not be named publicly by the site for legal reasons and managers of the scheme will not pass comments to the NMC for further investigation, the spokesperson added.
Under the scheme, patients are being asked for their comments in five areas:
Dignity and respect;
Whether nurses and doctors worked well together;
If patients felt they were involved in decisions around their care;
If they would recommend the hospital to friends and family.
Each NHS organisation will receive all comments about itself posted on the NHS Choices website and ministers expect trust chief executives to act where change is required to improve services.
The initiative is part of the government’s NHS Next Stage Review drive to put patient experience at the heart of the health service and simultaneously improve standards.
‘As consumers, if we buy an item from eBay, or go to a restaurant, we rightly expect to be able to give feedback on the service received. The NHS should be no different,’ the Department of Health states.
Launching the feedback service during a visit to London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, health minister Phil Hope said: ‘I genuinely hope it will be a good opportunity for nurses in particular to see both the positive comments as well as the negative.
‘Where things are critical, [they can] think about what they could do practically to think about how it can change,’ he said.
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