Help to place patients at the heart of future NHS services

The University of Manchester is conducting research on how people give feedback on NHS services and how feedback is used to improve services. As part of this research, the team would also like to interview people who are supporting or caring for a family member or friend with a mental health problem, to talk about how to best collect feedback on their experiences.

If you would like to take part, please contact Nicola or Papreen via the details below. The information sheet for this study, which explains what would happen if you decided to take part can be found here.

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Patients have helped to plan the research, which aims to build on the way the NHS already uses surveys and other feedback, such as the Friends and Family Test, which asks whether people would recommend using specific services to their friends and family.

The study, which is part of the larger research project DEPEND (Developing and Enhancing the Usefulness of Patient Experience and Narrative Data), will explore how best to capture feedback at the time services are delivered. The research will make use of written comments and will explore the value and use of patients’ stories about their experiences.

The work is a joint project between the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, The University of Manchester and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Health Service and Delivery Research programme.

Dr Caroline Sanders, who is leading the research, explained that the two-year, £500,000 project project which began in April 2016, is focussing on two patient groups and their carers – people with mental illness, such as schizophrenia, and people with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis. Both groups tend to use lots of different NHS services, face difficulties in seeing the same staff at appointments and can be at risk of harm when services don’t work well.

Dr Sanders and the research team are hoping to work with 80 patients and carers to find out what sort of feedback they would like to give and how. For example, using mobile phones, digital or written surveys, audio or video. The researchers are also looking to discuss with healthcare professionals what information would be helpful when they’re making decisions to improve services.

They will also work with computer scientists to see how patient comments and stories can be analysed quickly and effectively through techniques such as text mining, and look at how patients’ views can best be presented to staff alongside other information the NHS collects on quality, safety and symptoms of patients.

The researchers will use what they find to design, again alongside patients and staff, a set of materials to help staff improve the way they collect, analyse and use feedback. These materials will then be tested in different NHS settings: primary care, hospital outpatients, and community mental health services.

Dr Sanders said: “We know that patients and carers give really valuable insight into the NHS services they use and want their knowledge and experience to be taken into account. This research is trying to find the most helpful ways of collecting their views so we have accurate, up-to-date information that we can then analyse and use to improve care.” For further information, please visit: http://www.nets.nihr.ac.uk/projects/hsdr/1415616.

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