Forth Valley Patient Encouraged to Give Feedback Online

Local people are being encouraged by NHS Forth Valley to get online and share their health care experiences.

NHS Forth Valley is working with Patient Opinion, an independent not-for-profit website which allows patients, carers and their families to post anonymous feedback – good or bad – in real time. The posts are then read and responded to by local NHS staff who can also, where appropriate, provide details of any changes that have occurred due to the feedback received.

The site was launched in 2005 by Sheffield-based GP Paul Hodgkin and has been working closely with NHS Forth Valley to help staff actively listen to patients and their families. It is hoped Patient Opinion will compliment existing methods of patient engagement for the Board, which already liaises with local community groups, the Patient Public Panel (PPP) and has a feedback section on its public website.

Professor Angela Wallace, NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Nursing, believes this method of online engagement is beneficial to both patients and staff. She explained:

 It’s important that we listen to our patients, their carers and their families about the services we provide. In many cases the feedback we receive is positive however, we know we don’t get it right every time and we hope that by working with Patient Opinion we can find out what people think of the local health services we provide. This initiative also supports our person-centred approach to care and gives us an idea of the areas we can improve on.”

Gina Alexander, Director of Patient Opinion Scotland,said:

 This is a great opportunity for patients and the public in Forth Valley to help make their local health services even better by sharing their story in a simple way.   Doing so can be a great encouragement for staff and also help the Board to think about what they could do differently. After all, if you don’t tell them, how will they know?”

The Scottish Government also actively promotes the use of Patient Opinion amongst all Scottish NHS Boards.Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Alex Neil said he feels it is important to hear patients’ stories:  He said:

 This valuable online feedback helps us learn and improve to make our health services better. Many of these stories can be inspirational and where our health professionals are doing a great job we want them to know about it.”

It’s simple to use – just setup a user name and write your story at . Once this has been read by an NHS staff member, you will receive a response, which will either provide a comment/explanation or invite you to contact the department directly to discuss, if your story is particularly complex.