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In the latest of our series of blogs marking Friends and Family Test Spotlight Week, NHS England’s Head of Insight and Feedback explains the importance of understanding and using patient feedback:
The NHS is a world leader when it comes to collecting insight and feedback from its users.
We have a number of excellent national surveys that ask patients and staff about their experiences of the NHS and allow us to track our progress over time. We have a real-time feedback tool available across most NHS-funded services, the Friends and Family Test (FFT), which has collected more than 17 million ratings of services from patients over the past three years, as well as providing a rich seam of free-text comments to provide explanations and suggestions about how services can get even better.
In addition to the national programme there is great work being done at a local level to collect user and patient feedback. It’s an incredible amount of insight on the experience patients have of the healthcare we provide and what they think is important.
However, collecting the data is not enough; we need to be better at understanding it, interpreting it and most importantly acting upon what it tells us. Put simply, the NHS needs to be better at listening and acting on the insight and feedback we gather.
Almost 300 people with a keen interest in how the NHS uses this valuable patient insight will gather in Leeds today for a one-day conference to address this challenge. The event is partly a celebration of how newer tools, such as the FFT, are transforming the service improvement agenda across services, showcasing some of the providers who are going the extra mile to listen to the people who use their services.
However, it’s also a first step along a new road, a purposeful new direction. Our destination is a place where all of the data that’s available, whether collected nationally or locally, has a critical role in informing how we deliver care. Any service needs to understand the people it serves. Without this understanding the NHS has less chance of delivering care that is safe, effective and is experienced positively.
We need to move to a place where insight and feedback are central to the business of the NHS – used as routinely as other data on the quality of care. Decisions at a local and national level need to be informed by and reflect what matters to our patients, staff and service users. Insight data needs to be available to all from senior management, to frontline staff to patients and the public and it must be presented in accessible and transparent ways.
Perhaps most importantly insight data has a key role to play in supporting patients’ empowerment in their health and their use of healthcare services.
Is such a place unreachable?
We don’t think so. NHS England is committed to helping and supporting the NHS to move towards exactly that and, at our conference today, I’ll be setting out our route map for achieving this and asking delegates to join networks that will help us, collectively, to get there.
- Look out for more information on this website about our insight work. If you couldn’t be at today’s conference but want to be part of our insight networks as we move forward, get in touch to let us know. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.