Many of us take to the web to check out a hotel or restaurant in advance. Nowadays star ratings and reviews from the general public are a key way for many of us decide what services we use. So it makes sense to have something similar for health and care services.
That’s why Healthwatch Essex launched their Feedback Centre nine months ago and has been rolling out different services over that time. It is now fully up and running, allowing the people of Essex to leave reviews for hospitals, hospices, emergency care services, pharmacies, opticians, dentists, care homes, home care services, GPs, mental health services, and community and voluntary services.
“We capture a lot of lived experience through our engagement and research activities, and this is the latest way in which we give people a voice,” explained Tom Nutt, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Essex.
“We recognised that websites like Trip Advisor are incredibly popular and represent a much more modern way of allowing people to share their experiences, exercise choice and provide feedback. We wanted to take advantage of that in the world of health and care.”
As well as lots of reviews of services already posted by the people of Essex, it has also been very encouraging to witness just how responsive service providers have been. The Feedback Centre not only provides the public with the opportunity to leave a review, it also gives hospitals, pharmacies, GPs etc. the right to reply.
One of the concerns was that the Feedback Centre might simply become a platform for people to moan about the quality of services, but actually the average star rating is 3.9 out of 5. People have used it to compliment services as well as raise concerns.
This is very important to ensure that services use the feedback to understand what they are doing well and where they need to improve. So far, services have found it helpful to connect with people and shape services around them.
So, the next time you use a health or care service, take five minutes afterwards to leave a review that services can use to improve what they do and others can read to understand your experience.
Check out the Feedback Centre now on the Healthwatch Essex website at: http://www.healthwatchessex.org.uk/services/ and see what people are saying about your local health or care service.