Update from Patient Opinion Subscriber Support Team
Posted by Cally Bowman, Patient Opinion Subscriber Support Officer
Sharing your feedback on Patient Opinion, no matter how small it might seem, is heard and can lead to a change. A lovely little example happened last week, when some parents shared stories about their experiences of attending “a family fun day during the Easter holidays” at Eastwood Children’s Centre.
Tina Hancock, Sure Start Children’s Centres Service Manager, listened to the feedback, discussed it with staff and posted a response to let the parents know that they were going to make a change thanks to the feedback. Tina explained…
“I have shared your comments on to the team about the food – and your comments have helped us to plan our next event where we will be offering an alternative catering arrangement that caters to more tastes” The staff have reviewed and evaluated your feedback which has led to a change to the way we provide lunch at our future events by providing a better timetable for eating.”
Hello my name is Amanda. I am Involvement and Experience Manager and this is my first job in the NHS. I am finding my new role to be very rewarding and diverse: ensuring that the voices of patients, service users, and carers are heard to bring about changes and improvements in services. Also, to ensure that patient, service user and carer involvement and experience is a key part of the culture of the Trust, my role is to work with colleagues to review plans and activities to develop and share good practice.
I am gaining great job satisfaction from seeing how patient feedback really does bring about changes and have learned that the smallest things really matter. My new mantra is, “Do sweat the small stuff”, because enabling small changes to happen can have such a positive impact on the life of an individual. So please have a look at Your Feedback Matters to see what we are doing or indeed leave your own story at Patient Opinion.
I have been interested in health-related issues for as long as I can remember and prior to my current role worked in Connexions and then the Local Authority, directly supporting young people and then managing diverse projects and teams with a focus on developing integrated practices, in partnership with a range of other professionals to support and help vulnerable families with a range of issues.
As for my life out of work, I am an arts graduate with a keen interest in art and fashion, with a particular passion for re-fashioning and re-cycling as well as street-style photography and how fashion is sourced from and displayed in non-traditional spaces. I also like raising money for various charities and travelling.
The government response to Francis emphasised the importance of compassionate care.
Jane Danforth from the team was asked to contribute a case study post Francis on the DOH website on Compassionate Care due to the team’s work with Patient Opinion an independent site about experiences of UK health services.
The hope is that by using the voices of those who are working in the health and care system, we will be able to show the changes which have occurred due to the findings of the report as well as reflections on how the journey has felt from within the system, and what the challenges and opportunities going forward may be.
The Trust has supported the Involvement and Experience approach to really embrace Patient Opinion and the Your Feedback Matters website as places to leave opinion, comments and stories.
Hello my name is Jane. I have worked in the NHS for a (very!) long time and worked in the Involvement Team for over seven years. I started off in a Mental Health Day Centre in Broad Street Nottingham and supported service users on their journey to recovery. I became the first person to be called ‘Community Bridgebuilder’ for volunteering in the Trust. I placed our service users into voluntary roles both within the Trust and in community settings and once again, found myself in a role that enabled recovery which I loved.
After this I worked in Intellectual Developmental Disabilities or Learning Disabilities Services (as it was known then) at Highbury Hospital. I transferred to The Inclusion Team then moved yet again (I like travelling!) and managed a team in the Community to set up education and volunteering opportunities at a Health Living Centre in Nottingham City.
My current role is diverse and rewarding. Patient Experience is really important in my job. Since 2009 real time feedback has become increasingly important.
Being part of changes in NHS services is a huge motivator. Some people who access our services are vulnerable and don’t have a ‘voice’ to express their views and need support to feedback so we try to make this easier for those people. A strong partnership with Patient Opinion and our Service User and Carer Experience (SUCE) survey provides the evidence of these changes. People can see publicly that their feedback has been heard and acted upon. Nottinghamshire Healthcare feedback website is a first. Have a look.
I have been astounded by the impact of stories and the lives that we change, often without realising it. New technology and social media helps us to target hard to reach areas. Staff who really listen and respond to their feedback in real time gives them ownership of feedback delivered to the heart of their team where it really matters.
The other passion in my work is to ensure carers, families and friends are heard and are involved with the Trust in the way they want to be. We are working hard to give equality to our carers, families and friends. They are often the people who can tell us most about the person they care for.
And a bit about me out of work. I’m an arts graduate who ended up running an outdoor pursuits business in Northumberland quite by chance, and me, a dedicated non athlete!
I’m also a Dementia Champion volunteer raising awareness on how to become dementia friendly in the local community. I also love digital photography and social media.
Inspired by the wonderful Hello my name is campaign we’ll be running some posts to get us started from members of the Involvement team introducing ourselves and our work. I’ve volunteered myself to go first, so here we go…
Hello, my name is Chris. I started working with the Involvement team about 5 years ago. We were just starting to collect survey data across the Trust and I got involved because of my previous experience with survey design and analysis. At the time I was an evaluator/ researcher at the Institute of Mental Health with an interest in using surveys and other routine data collected within mental health services. The work on feedback in the Trust is now so large and important to the Trust that I have now moved over full time to the team.
I’ve worked in Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust for 14 years now, I’ve run the gamut from healthcare assistant on an acute ward, assistant psychologist, research assistant, evaluation manager and now experience data manager. I just fell into my current role, I’d never written a line of code in my life but as we worked on increasingly larger and larger numbers of surveys I became aware that there were programming languages and technologies that we could use to make the process quicker and easier. My motto is let computers do repetitive work crunching numbers and writing reports and free up humans to do what they do best- read, think, and communicate.
So I’ve taught myself three programming languages (level: Expert, Amateur, and Beginner), one database technology (to store all the data) and two markup languages (to make the reports look nice) and now spend my days cleaning the data, improving the database and the reports and generally overseeing the whole process of getting as much feedback about our services as I can and presenting it back to people in the most accessible and useful format I can come up with. We share all of our experience data transparently with the world on the Your Feedback Matters website.
Apart from letting computers take the burden of report writing and number crunching my other big passion is free and open source software. This describes software which is provided free, with users able to use the software without any charge or modify it for their own use.
For more, please follow the above link, it contains a lot of references to noteworthy projects in open source, particularly in the public sector. In brief, I would argue that open source technologies, which are often free, are criminally under used in the public sector, although they have started to gain traction, for example in a major upgrade to the NHS’s central data systems (these were largely open source, but not free, see more here). As a matter of principle I use no proprietary (i.e. closed source) software in my work but, to be honest, this is no hardship, in my field all the good products are open source anyway, or have solid open source alternatives.
When I’m not thinking about computers, teaching myself programming languages, or fiddling around with Linux (which, to be honest, is not very often) I’m a very proud (and busy) father of two young children and enjoy literature, hip-hop, martial arts (aikido), running, and video games.
We’ve started this blog to talk about what’s going on in our team, who we are and what we do, and will be featuring regular guest pieces from service user, carer, and professional experts in involvement, experience, and volunteering.
Please contact me if you have any comments about my work on the feedback site, have suggestions for the blog or if you are interested in contributing a guest piece to the blog.