To date the Patients Association have worked on over 40 projects across the country with GP surgeries, acute hospital Trusts, community Trusts, local Healthwatch groups and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Working in partnership with these organisations, we have been delivering projects to improve patients and carers experience of care.
The projects we have completed so far have covered all aspects of being a patient or carer. We have looked at the key components that make a good in-patient experience, such as noise at night, mealtimes, discharges arrangements and using call bells. We have also looked at wider issues such as information: for patients regarding their medication; general hospital information; and information provision for carers.
Some of our projects have involved training for staff with carers awareness training and workshops on harnessing the power of the patient experience. Working with healthcare professional students from a few medical schools and universities, we have developed Special Study Units (SSUs) to help them gain essential professional knowledge around what makes the the patient experience. One of our successful models for projects is using Community Reporting - this technique is explained in more detail here.
Our work with Trusts in this way began in 2010 when the Patients Association worked with the then South West Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to deliver projects in the 18 acute Trusts across the region. This successful pilot was written up into our Partners in Care: Working Together in the South West report, which was published in August 2012, and can be read here.
When organisations join the Patients Association as organisational members, they get project management time, which enables us to develop projects such as the ones described above. Through organisational membership, we can support organisations with projects in the following areas, and can create bespoke projects on specific areas:
• Establishment and facilitation of patient and carer councils and forums
• Gathering feedback about services and experiences with tested Patients Association tools
• Training for patient and carer representatives
• Training and support for volunteers in healthcare issues and the NHS
• Training and awareness raising for staff (clinical and non-clinical) on concepts such as shared-decision making and effective engagement
• Management of projects to improve patient experience through co-production of services with patients and carers
• Video and audio productions giving patients and carers a voice and raising awareness about issues such as the NHS Constitution
• Complaints casework
• Training on complaints standards and management, as recommended in the Francis Report (2013)
• Community Reporting, as a technique to explore local issues with local communities
The other benefits of organisational membership include:
• A casework support service for up to five cases to provide mediation for the complaints process and assistance in resolving long-standing and challenging cases.
• Sharing of best practice and a networking opportunity via our website.
• Up to ten hard copies of any Patients Association publications.
• Discount on places to our regional / national conferences.
• Opportunity to host Partners in Care conferences locally to share learning and celebrate success – subject to additional cost.
We have many positive comments about our project work, and here is one:
“May I firstly say how much I have enjoyed working with all of the other people involved and being a part of this project. I think that a lot of good can come out of schemes like this for the benefit not only of the patients but for the staff as well...”
The advantages of becoming an organisational member include:
• Working in partnership with a trusted and respected professional organisation which is both credible and truly independent;
• The CARE campaign offers the chance to get the basics right with access to independent audit and advice;
• The opportunity to share learning and best practice and be aware of new developments;
• Our locally based regional offices and network of Ambassadors act as a catalyst for collaboration with primary, secondary and community services including adult social care and the third sector;
• Opportunities to provide independent evidence to the Care Quality Commission and enhance other monitoring;
• Independent participation from patients and carers to influence change at all levels in the organisation;
• Efficiency gains from improving patient experience