When I heard on the news that Andrew Lansley had been speaking in the House of Commons and there were to be another 60 outcomes the NHS would be measured against, I must admit that I did look up from what I was doing. And then I heard that Andy Burnham expected Doctors and Nurses to roll their eyes at the thought of more targets – what did you do?
Now that I have had a look at the news item, I can see they are not new targets but instead they have been named as outcomes, with some quoted as being benchmarks. It is good to see patient safety as a focus as this is why we all come to work – to do the very best for the patients/users in our care. Access to services is also a key element of this new document and looks like this could apply to GP and Dental services in the first instance.
Will this make a difference to our patients? I hope so, especially as we are learning the Carer and Patient voice is to be stronger – will this be easy for you to do in the services and jobs you do? Some services struggle to get patient feedback: Sexual Health, Substance Misuse and Mental Health for example. These types of services get very few compliments and complaints, due to the sensitive nature of the work, so engaging patients, service users and their carers can be a challenge. Have you got any new ways of engaging with difficult-to-reach groups to find out how your service is doing: critical feedback is essential if we are to have a NHS that keeps the patient at the centre of all it does?
I am sure many of us have tales to tell of our personal experience of the NHS – either our own or as a relative/carer. Has the experience always been a good one and did you share that experience with those providing the service? We can be very quick to complain about poor or substandard care but are we as quick to offer thanks and praise – think again about those services working with hard to reach groups or dealing with sensitive issues.
Next time you witness or experience good care or service will you say something? Andrew Lansley is expecting us to if the patient/carer voice is to be heard and acted upon.