‘Your Care Matters’ — NHS Brings Patient Feedback Into The Spotlight

Birmingham, UK – June 10, 2013 —  A hospital Trust in the South East of England has introduced a new patient experience management programme that is set to take patient feedback to a new level.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) is pioneering a new approach to improving patient care in the NHS by implementing its ‘Your Care Matters’ programme in East Surrey Hospital in Redhill in partnership with customer experience management specialist Empathica. The programme collects feedback from patients and offers continuous performance feedback to its ward managers, enabling them to implement improvements that make a difference to the service they provide.

New Government regulations mean that from April 2013 all acute NHS Trusts are required to ask both inpatients and Emergency Department patients one standard question known as the Friends and Family Test. The test asks: “How likely are you to recommend our ward/Emergency Department to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?” It aims to encourage patient feedback, prove to patients that their views and experiences matter to the NHS and improve patient care.

SASH has worked with Empathica to build on this requirement for patient feedback by following up this one question with a number of key questions which will allow them to drill down to the finer points of the patient experience. The Trust’s management team can use the insights from the patient feedback to take action to improve patients’ experiences whilst they are in the hospital’s care.

Following a three month pilot that ran across 25 inpatient wards at East Surrey Hospital, the Trust also implemented ‘Your Care Matters’ in its Emergency Department. The programme is now being rolled out to outpatients, day surgery units, endoscopy and chemotherapy services – areas not yet mandated by the Department of Health.

The new programme also aims to motivate and empower staff, by allowing patients to identify where they have received exceptional care. Using Empathica’s WOW system, patient feedback is flagged up to the relevant manager, allowing them to commend specific employees for their commitment to outstanding patient care. The opportunity to receive positive feedback, known as SenSASHional Patient Care Commendations, is extremely popular with staff. With over 500 commendations received from patients so far, it has been instrumental in ensuring everyone supports the programme and actively encourages patients to participate.

CEO of Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Michael Wilson, commented: “In these days when healthcare experiences are more under the spotlight than ever before, we are leading the way when it comes to actively seeking feedback from our patients. We want our patients to know that we listen to their feedback and action operational changes so that next time we exceed their expectations.

“The thinking behind the new programme came from wanting our patients to feel that East Surrey Hospital is at the heart of their community and that we welcome their ideas to help us improve. We wanted to move past static measures of performance to a more ‘caring’ solution that gauges our patients’ experience and most importantly, enables us to take actions based upon their views.”

Gary Topiol, EMEA managing director for Empathica, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to bring best practices in customer service from the private sector to the public sector. It’s inspiring to see a healthcare organisation taking such a forward thinking approach to service and putting patients at the heart of the care system. The programme we have developed with Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust has the potential to assist employees to improve the standard of healthcare and we hope organisations across the UK will follow their example.”

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