Healthwatch Cumbria the Independent Champion for those who use health and care services has launched a powerful new system to help people share their experiences of local services.
The Trip Advisor style service will enable people to leave reviews of their Hospital, GP, Dentist or Social Care Service and receive direct feedback from Health and Care providers.
Healthwatch Cumbria is part of the national network supported by Healthwatch England established by the Government in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The role of Healthwatch is to act as the independent champion for patients and customers who use Health and Care Services; to gather the views and experiences of local people and to share these with decision makers to influence service change, improvement and design.
The new online Feedback Centre will be available on the Healthwatch Cumbria website and accessible via a variety of devices including mobile phones, desktop PCs and tablets.
Recent research has shown that half of the public who considered complaining about NHS services did not. Many people were put off because they expected the process to be too bureaucratic and others believed it would make no difference.
Feedback can be shared with staff and teams to help them to understand what is working well and how further improvements can be made. This can complement existing patient feedback methods.
Healthwatch Cumbria believes that by assisting patients and customers to express their views with ease we can help to instigate change and improvements within the health and social care arena.
David Blacklock, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Cumbria, said: “We have much to be proud of in Cumbria, our health and care services are improving all the time. We have a dedicated workforce that are passionate about delivering outstanding care to each and every patient. However, sometimes things go wrong and need improving, and the voice of our community must be heard to help get things right.
Healthwatch Cumbria’s aim is to make sure that the patient voice is heard and is at the forefront of any decision making processes made by healthcare professionals.
That is why we have developed a simple yet powerful system that is accessible to the widest possible group of people from wherever they are.
Millions of people every day use online review systems to give their opinion about other services or products they have bought or used. We want to harness this behavior to empower patients, users and their families to give us vital information about the NHS and social care.
As an independent organisation, Healthwatch Cumbria hopes that the public will tell us their full experiences of local services; where things have gone well, as well as where things need to improve. We hope that by creating a familiar tool, we will be able to engage many more people in celebrating and improving health and social care here in Cumbria.”
All of the feedback received will be part of a much larger dataset being collected by Healthwatch Cumbria which it will use to analyse the public’s views of health and social care. More traditional methods of patient experiences will also be collected, such as the telephone, social media, paper-based feedback, and public engagement events.
Professor Stephen Eames CBE, Chief Executive of North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “Patient feedback is essential to us to help shape service improvements. We gather patient experience data in a variety of different ways and welcome the introduction of Healthwatch Cumbria’s new Feedback Centre. It will provide us with another source of feedback to consider and we will use the information to help us improve the experience for our patients.”