There needs to be a profound change in how the NHS listens to the feedback, concerns and complaints of the patients. Listening properly and then taking action is all that needs to happen. It shouldn’t be difficult. The Care Quality Commission has a key role in making sure it invests properly in patient engagement – a hospital should only be judged as performing adequately if its patients think it is and there is evidence to confirm it. We look forward to working with them at a national and local level to see that this is happening.
Hospitals should see patients as part of the solution and not part of the problem. Local hospitals should be talking to their local Healthwatch to find out the best way to engage and listen to their patients about the full range of issues that impact on their care and treatment.
Healthwatch is quite right and yet in Bucks, the Keogh Review found (Action Plan p14):
There is no systematic approach to gathering and reviewing patients’ views about their experiences of care at the Trust. Complaints are not addressed in a timely manner and learning is not shared effectively across divisions.
Just yesterday, Sir Bruce said that it was the public who brought the greatest insights to his Review. That’s why I am becoming a local Healthwatch Bucks volunteer.