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Patients to give feedback on care

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Nurses will receive feedback from patients on the care they provide within two weeks, according to new proposals unveiled by health secretary Alan Johnson.

Mr Johnson promised at the Labour Party conference this month to set up a feedback system that would give staff up-to-date information on the quality of care on their ward.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We need to ensure that the patient is placed even closer to the centre of the NHS. That is why I’m going to be asking every hospital trust over the next year to collect immediate feedback from patients on their experience of care.

‘Each hospital will know within two weeks how patients feel about their care. Only then can we link patient experience with the clinical outcome.’

Nursing organisations have been broadly supportive.

Gail Adams, Unison’s head of nursing, backed the move but questioned whether trusts would implement changes as a result of it.

‘Getting feedback from patients is fine – it is what organisations do with that information,’ she said.

Ms Adams added that feedback could reflect wider problems. ‘If patients say they received poor quality of care because nurses were too busy, that questions whether staffing levels are appropriate,’ she said.

Geraldine Cunningham, head of the RCN’s learning and development institute, said the idea could be developed to shed further light on any problems identified.

‘If there is a concern or a complaint, questions can be changed and nurses can make improvements in areas that make a difference,’ she said.

A computerised feedback system at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London has proved popular, said Ms Cunningham.

The Picker Institute has also piloted an electronic system to log patients’ experiences (NT Feature, 26 August, p18).

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I am a nurse in the USA. In our hospital we receive written feedback from our patients when they leave. We have offered this practice for 5-8 years. We find it very helpful in providing patient and family centered care. We also have previous patients and/or family that serve on some of our hospital committees. They provide a unique perspective on things. After all, they are why we are here.

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