It has been announced that the NHS is to launch a “Tripadvisor-style” patient feedback website to allow reviews to be posted about Trusts online by patients.
The announcement was made by Tim Kelsey, the NHS director in charge of patients and information in an interview with the Guardian. He stated that the move followed a low-key three-month trial involving 20 hospital trusts on the Care Connect website in London and the north-east.
During the trial, complaints and reviews regarding NHS services were logged, mapped and dealt with around the clock. It is thought that the system has already highlighted and tackled some serious issues, such as instances where patients were not being given their medication at the right time. As a result, the NHS Trusts in question were able to contact the patient within hours of the complaint, before escalating it to the patient liaison service within 48 hours.
The news of the system's planned roll-out came as the Patients Association charity published its annual study highlighting stories from patients and their families. The report said too many parts of the NHS had "lost their way", with a lack of basic care in hospitals, and the NHS often forgetting that "care and compassion should be at the heart of what staff do".
Kelsey states that the move is not about “naming and shaming”, but about promoting “openness” in the NHS. The inspiration for the scheme has come from similar successful projects in the US, where cities such as Boston, New York and Miami have pioneered a system of public feedback to reshape public services. Local authorities have invited the public to tell them about services, encouraging tweets and pictures. In the US, is it thought that 90,000 citizens do this every day about their trash not being delivered and the state of roads.
It is hoped that the system will allow the NHS to deal "intelligently" with patients, often in surprising ways, with Kelsey stating the ultimate goal was "creating a 24/7 modern consumer health service".
The website has cost £150,000 to set up, and the scheme will be rolled out nationally next year. The plan is to bring in a private company eventually to run the service. The NHS deals with over 1 million patients every 36 hours, but officials are confident that it can handle the volumes of complaints.
Original Source The Guardian
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