Lowest number of complaints ever!

Monday November 13, 2017

Message to Western Sussex Hospitals staff from Chief Executive Marianne Griffiths


Dear colleagues,

I have the pleasure of sharing some fabulous news with you this week – we are now experiencing the lowest number of formal complaints ever and more teams are achieving exceptional Friends & Family results.

Only a year or so ago we were receiving an average of 50 complaints a month but this has fallen to fewer than 40 in recent months. Of course, that is still 30-odd too many but it is heartening to see our Patient First ambition to continually improve patient experience clearly working.

Our dedicated complaints and patient liaison service also deserves special mention. This team of less than ten people deals with more than 6,500 patient concerns a year as well as nearly 400 complaints.

Last month 12 wards surveyed at least two in every five of their patients and also achieved a perfect 100% recommendation rate in Friends and Family test

Yet new practices stemming from a Patient First focus means they are resolving many more concerns within 48 hours and they also have reduced the response time for formal complaints to less than 25 working days. This is an excellent achievement and I commend the entire team.

Colleagues across the trust can also help to improve the experience of those raising concerns by responding swiftly to enquiries from the PALS and Complaints team. They advocate for patients  in often difficult circumstances, but ultimately their aim is the same as everyone else’s – to improve patient experience.

True North

This is the True North of our organisation and the one direction towards which we all pull together no matter what role we have within the trust. Making patient experience better should be the guiding principle behind every decision we take, from ward to board, back office to estates.

Whether it’s improving the quality of care, refining our systems and processes, managing our finances or helping our people to help others, we each have an essential part to play in our shared journey.

But how do we know when we’re winning? This is an important question we should be regularly asking ourselves, along with what does success look like? Only by knowing the answers to these key questions will we be able to confirm we’re on course or need to steer back towards True North.

For Patient Experience, we believe success is when at least 97% of our patients say they would recommend the care they receive from us to their friends or family. We therefore monitor these findings closely and challenge teams to survey at least 40% of their patients so we have robust data that we can have confidence in.

Top performing wards

I am delighted to be able to say that each week more and more teams are achieving this important target and many with genuinely exceptional results. For example, last month 12 wards surveyed at least two in every five of their patients and also achieved a perfect 100% recommendation rate.

Congratulations to the Acute Cardiac Unit, Ashling, Birdham, Chichester Suite, Ford and Funtington teams at St Richard’s and Broadwater, Botolphs, Castle, Chiltington, Eartham and Eastbrook teams in Worthing. To have every single patient recommend the care they have received is an exemplary achievement and one that everyone working in these teams should be extraordinarily proud of. Well done to you all.

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to commend our Outpatients teams as well, where quite simply there are too many achieving 100% in the Friends & Family test to individually mention! Their overall average score though is a superb 97.4% and I’ll finish by reminding you of how the Health Secretary commended these teams when they achieved more than 97% in June this year.

He said:

“Western Sussex Hospitals is a real example to others, demonstrating how to ensure that your patients get the care they deserve.

From visiting organisations throughout the country, I know that the immense amount of work that will have been behind this outcome cannot be underestimated.

This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the trust’s staff.”

I wholeheartedly echo these remarks and thank each and every single member of staff and all the teams working together with shared purpose to continually improve all that we do for our patients.

Thank you

Marianne

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