Northumbria welcomes friends and family feedback

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has today welcomed publication of data from the NHS Friends and Family Test about its hospital services in North Tyneside and across Northumberland.

Information published by NHS England covering April to June 2013, shows over 96 per cent of Northumbria patients would be ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to recommend the Trust’s hospital services based on their own experience of inpatient care and over 88 per cent of people would be ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to recommend the care they received at the Trust’s A&E departments in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck.

Over the past three months, one per cent of inpatients said they would be ’unlikely’ or ‘extremely unlikely’ to recommend the care they received in hospital and five per cent of people attending the Trust’s A&E departments would not recommend the service.

With amongst the highest response rates in the whole country at over 20 per cent, Northumbria Healthcare has wholeheartedly welcomed the introduction of the NHS Friends and Family Test which is just one of the many measures already used across the Trust to capture patient experience.

Commenting on today’s publication, director of patient experience Annie Laverty said: “As an organisation we place great emphasis on making sure we capture the views of our patients so that we can continuously improve quality and we are delighted with the response rate we have had since this new national measure was introduced in April.

“We know that the very large majority of our patients are very satisfied with the care they have received from us but we also know that sometimes things do not live up to the high standards we have set ourselves.

“Feedback from the one per cent of inpatients and five per cent of people attending A&E who are not likely to recommend our services is what we are most interested in understanding so that we can make real tangible quality improvements.”

The NHS Friends and Family Test is only a small part of a very comprehensive programme of capturing patient experience which has been in place at Northumbria Healthcare for the past three years and uses a variety of different methods to capture feedback that the Trust can act upon.

Recognised nationally for running one of the most comprehensive patient experience programmes in England, Northumbria Healthcare was one of the first NHS organisations to appoint a director of patient experience at board level in 2009 and every year collects the views of 30,000 patients in a range of ways.

As well as participating in all national surveys, in the past year alone real-time patient feedback has been collected from over 30 hospital wards across seven of Northumbria’s sites by talking to patients while they are still in hospital – this allows the Trust to feedback immediately to the clinical teams within 24 hours and implement any necessary improvements.

In addition, the Trust also carries out surveys – with inpatients, outpatients and people who have attended A&E – two weeks after they have used services to ensure a balanced view of care.

Annie explains: “We know from national research that patients are more likely to share their honest views around two weeks after their actual experience and this is when we actively seek feedback to ensure we get the full picture.

“On the day of discharge, for example, patients are delighted to be going home and feel extra grateful to the staff who cared for them. Two weeks later, they’ve had a chance to think things through and are likely to be most aware of what could be improved.”

Most recent annual patient experience results for Northumbria Healthcare in 2012 show that 94 per cent of patients regarded the care on hospital wards as ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ and 98 per cent of outpatients also felt their care was ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. The Trust was also recognised in 2012 as fourth best in the country in the national cancer survey which asked cancer patients about their experience of care.

All patient feedback at Northumbria Healthcare is independently gathered and externally verified. Information is shared openly with staff, patients and visitors with each hospital ward displaying patient experience feedback in easy to understand ‘infographic’ posters which are also published online. A formal patient experience report also goes to the Trust board every quarter with the latest feedback discussed.

Annie added: “We are very passionate about listening to our patients and really understanding what matters most to them. Our comprehensive feedback programme means we can continuously measure patient experience in an open and honest way and we use this information to help our frontline teams respond to the needs of patients and their families to deliver the very best quality of care.”