Our report following our engagement session at Frimley Park Hospital, highlighting what we heard from patients, families and carers.
Healthwatch Surrey staff and volunteers visited Frimley Park Hospital in October 2023 to speak with patients, and their families and carers, to find out more about people’s understanding of, and barriers around, providing feedback.
Following our visit, and based on what we heard from the people during these visits, our key recommendations for Frimley Park Hospital are:
- To review how they communicate with patients, their families, and carers about the available means to provide feedback and complaints.
- We suggest that the importance and benefits of feedback is highlighted to encourage more people to share their view, whether positive or negative, and people are provided with clearer information about the range of opportunities to provide feedback including PALS, the Friends and Family Test, and independent options such as Healthwatch Surrey.
We received a response from Frimley Park Hospital which said:
We were delighted to welcome Healthwatch Surrey to Frimley Park Hospital on 2 October 2023. The Healthwatch team was invited to visit several hospital departments and the main entrance to speak to our patients and visitors. Despite a relatively small sample size of 15 people, the event provided a useful insight into the understanding of our service users in providing feedback to the organisation.
We were pleased to hear that some of the people spoken to were aware of the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) located at the main entrance of the hospital and also accessible by phone and email. The service is well used, and the team is often able to quickly resolve concerns for people. The PALS team is also able to pass on any positive experiences, or areas for improvement to clinical teams. We have recently reinstated the voicemail facility in the PALS office for when the phone lines are busy so that a message can be left for a member of the team to respond when they’re available.
The Friends and Family Test is used widely throughout the hospital and we’re currently working with our digital colleagues to reinstate the delivery of this by text message which is popular with our service users. It was pleasing to hear that our patients are preferring digital technology to manage their interactions with the hospital, and the MyFrimleyHealth Record app is a huge step in advancing our digital capability.
The trust continues to proactively seek feedback from patients through local patient experience surveys as well as participating in several national annual surveys. This allows us to compare our results against previous year’s feedback as well as benchmark against our neighbouring organisations; capturing what we’re doing well, what we should continue to do, and identifying areas for improvement.
To hear that people felt their experience could be improved with better communication and appointment systems, is consistent with the themes from other sources of feedback and we have already started work to improve these areas. Likewise, positive feedback often centres around people’s interactions with individual staff members who have communicated effectively.
We want to make it as easy as possible for patients, carers and visitors to give us feedback about their experience, so we are making sure there is information available around the hospital signposting people how to give feedback. We are also reviewing our website so that people can easily navigate their way to a feedback page to share their experiences with us and learn about how we’re listening to and acting on feedback. There is also an updated announcement going on Frimley Radio to encourage people to give feedback and know how they can do this.