Gathering views to improve healthcare

Mon 10th March 2014

Willow Court staff and CCG

People being cared for in nursing homes in North Tyneside are being invited to give their views on their local healthcare and health services.

Staff from NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body responsible for the majority of local health spending in the borough, will visit nursing homes over the next two weeks to gather feedback from patients whose voices are rarely heard. They will provide the opportunity to talk to residents, their families and carers as well as staff, to gather their experiences which will then be analysed to identify any themes or areas where improvements can be made to services. This information will be used as part of the health and social care integration agenda by the Older People’s Project Board when working with local people to re-design services.

Their views will then be used by the local CCG to plan and buy healthcare and health services that are better and more responsive to their needs.

Lesley Young-Murphy, Executive Director of Nursing & Transformation at North Tyneside CCG, said: “By talking directly with residents and their families, we can get a much clearer picture of their experiences of care services, what is working well and where there are opportunities for improvement.

“Nursing homes are an important part of the community and the health and social care system. We appreciate that older people, particularly in nursing homes, may find it more difficult to give their views, so that’s why we’ve made the decision to go to them.”

Willow Court and Willow Lodge nursing home in North Shields were the first to agree to take part in this project.

Lesley said: “It was a very positive day. By talking directly to residents and their families we were able to gain their perspective on how services can be improved for them.’’

Manager of Willow Court, Paula O’Neill, said: “Residents and their families feel very honoured that they have been chosen to be involved in this project. It’s empowering for them and important that their views can be heard so that they can shape and inform our services.

“By working with the CCG we feel we’ve been able to get a true reflection of how people really feel about our services and the health services we work closely with.

“We try to act in the best interests of our residents but it’s not always easy to know what people think. By having an open forum like this where people can speak independently, you can get a true reflection of their thoughts and needs.”

Collecting information about how people feel about their healthcare experiences has been used in other situations to highlight areas where improvements might be needed as well as celebrate the good care being received by local people and delivered by local NHS staff.

The visits are part of a wider project aimed at encouraging as many people as possible to tell their local CCG about their experiences with health services over the last two years. Patients can describe something that happened in any healthcare setting – for example, in general practice (GP), in an emergency care situation where very fast access to healthcare was needed, in a hospital as a patient or when attending an outpatient clinic, pharmacy, at the dentist or optometrist (eye care), at home or in a clinic in the community – in fact anywhere there has been contact with healthcare services. The experience can be something they liked or something that didn’t work so well for them or someone they know.

The experiences are collected in an anonymous way and no person or organisation will be identified.  When the information is shared, it will include high level themes as well as a collection of people’s experiences. The important thing is that the information will be used to inform future care commissioning and ensuring that high quality care will be delivered in the right place at the right time.

North Tyneside residents can get involved in the project by taking part in the online survey.