Patient opinions lead to direct improvements in hospital care

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Rescheduled deliveries, daily nutritional assessments and a special Sister’s Surgery; just three ways in which comments from hospital patients are having a direct influence on improvements to healthcare in East Yorkshire.

The changes have been made a result of comments captured using the NHS Friends and Family Test, which was introduced to both Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital back in March. The test (a simple questionnaire) not only asks patients how likely they would be to recommend the care they received to their loved ones, but also enables patients to state their opinions on how care could be further improved.

Since introducing the test, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has become one of the best performing Trusts in the country for both overall scores and volume of patient responses, regularly averaging a score of 4.7 out of 5 and clocking up some 34,000 Friends and Family Test responses in just nine months*.

Rachael Pearce, Friends and Family Test Project Manager, explains how these responses are now being used for the benefit of other patients:

“Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust was one of the first Trusts to introduce the Friends and Family Test back in March 2013, and we were keen to do so as a way of better understanding what our patients think of our services.

“Unlike many other Trusts, we regularly seek comments from maternity service users, outpatients and those under the care of a consultant as well as those spending time on our wards, and what’s amazing is just how many nuggets of valuable information patients share with us; thoughts and issues which we as hospital staff may not necessarily consider, but which can be very important to people who are lying ill in a hospital bed.

“I meet regularly with each ward and department to go through their individual feedback, and there are loads of examples of where our doctors and nurses are already taking the comments people provide and changing things for the benefit of future patients.

“Examples of this include Ward 26 at Castle Hill, where delivery times were changed after a patient complained of the disturbance created by a lorry delivering goods during the night; the introduction of a special Sister’s Surgery on Ward 9 at Hull Royal to help patients and their relatives better understand the patient’s plan of care and discharge arrangements; and the daily nutritional assessment of patients on ward 110 to ensure those at risk of malnutrition are regularly eating enough for their requirements.

“Our staff clearly want our patients to have a positive experience whilst in our care, and so we’re even aware of a number of wards doing their own fundraising and staff bringing in books and DVDs to ensure patients who report being bored whilst in hospital have something to keep them occupied.

“Giving our patients the chance to influence how we provide care to them and to others in the future is so important, but perhaps even more important is the knowledge that their comments and opinions are not just going into a file or a drawer somewhere, rather we are actively looking at how we can use them to make improvements and deliver a better quality of care all round.”

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