Acting on feedback
Who are the best judges of how well we are meeting our patients’ needs?
It’s the thousands of people who use our services, and those who care for them.
That’s why we try to give people as many opportunities as possible to tell us what they think.
And it’s why we have a customer relations department and Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to act on what they say and put things right where they have gone wrong or wherever we have not lived up to their expectations.
Sharing your views
- If you are staying on one of our wards, you may be asked to take part in the Care Quality Commission’s annual national inpatient survey or complete one of our own patient experience surveys.
- All patients are able to take the government’s Friends and Family Test, which asks how likely you are to recommend our care to someone you know.
- Our PALS team is also available to all patients to offer advice and support, and help you speak to the right people to resolve any issues you have.
- And if you do want to make a formal complaint, our customer relations staff will make sure it is fully investigated for you.
Of course, you can also give us feedback at any time using one of the forms on our contacts page: Western Sussex Hospitals – Contact Us
Responding to feedback
We take all feedback and complaints extremely seriously.
The chief executive and Trust Board regularly meet with patients and their relatives where things have gone wrong to ensure we apologise properly and take action to prevent the same thing happening again in future.
And a committee led by our independent, non-executive directors also audits the complaints we receive to make sure they are all investigated and responded to effectively.
The annual number of complaints the Trust received was down 5% in 2018/19, at 406 compared to 429 the previous year.
However, we continue to examine all feedback we receive to identify potential problems as they emerge, and learn from our patients’ experiences, good and bad.
Here are a few of the issues that were raised in recent years, and the steps we have taken in response.
You said, we did…
Issue: Inadequate provision for ophthalmic appointments resulting in frequent cancellations and delays
Response: We undertook an external review of the service and implemented a dedicated telephone triage service to respond to appointment queries and improve customer service
Issue: Delays in answering call bells on one of the elderly wards
Response: We have introduced a new call bell system that displays chronologically which patients have called for assistance to improve response times
Issue: Confusion over medication needed on discharge from hospital
Response: We have improved our policy on labelling take-home medicines
Issue: Poor communication and advice when accessing the oncology services in an emergency
Response: Neutropenic patients who require access to advice and admission out of hours when at high risk of infection now have a dedicated bleep number to use to contact oncology staff directly
Issue: Delays between clinic appointments
Response: We have arranged additional clinics in the evenings and at weekends to reduce waiting times
Issue: Confusion regarding the process and criteria for entry and reinstatement of patients on waiting lists for surgery
Response: We now send patients a letter when they are removed from the waiting list to ensure they have clear guidance on how to reinstate their entry at a later date
Issue: Lack of communication about waiting times when a patient comes in for day surgery
Response: We now ensure details of the approximate waiting time are included in the admission letter sent to patients