Engaging online: Embracing patient feedback to make improvements in care

For both primary care services and Trusts, online feedback offers an opportunity to address issues swiftly and encourage a culture of learning. For patients, it also provides a vehicle for their voices to be heard.

In 2018, City and Hackney GP Confederation provided funding for 10 self-selected GP practices to pilot using a dedicated online patient feedback platform to gather patient feedback about their services.

By April 2019, 81 stories had been posted online by patients across the ten practices. They had been read over 1,400 times. Over two-thirds of the stories that patients have shared so far have been positive.

The practices have also used any negative feedback to improve their services. In one instance, a patient shared an experience in which it was found difficult to book appointments at a practice because of unclear information on their website.

A partner at the practice responded online and thanked the patient for highlighting the issue. They also updated the information on their website to ensure it is accessible for all patients and provided a timeframe for completing the action. Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust has also been working to encourage and use patient feedback since 2009.

In 2012 the Trust won the national Patient Feedback Challenge and was the first Trust in the UK to create a website to gather feedback from their staff and the public. As well as using a dedicated patient feedback platform, the Trust’s website also invites patients and their families to take a survey or get in touch directly with the Patient Advice and Liaison Service with any feedback they have.

Over 6,000 stories have been posted so far online about the Trust. Staff aim to respond within 2 days, and use the feedback gathered from PALS and their survey to improve the experience of patients and families and make improvements where necessary.

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We've been working in partnership to design a draft Complaint Standards Framework for NHS staff. This will provide a consistent approach and support to frontline staff, and help senior leaders to promote a positive culture that embraces learning from complaints.

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This case summary is also featured in the Making Complaints Count: Supporting complaints handling in the NHS report.