Value of patient experience

I’m sure like me you will have heard the oft repeated line ‘your feedback is important to us’ and no doubt like me you wonder whether this is a token gesture or a genuine commitment. As a commissioning organisation we have been grateful for the views and feedback of our patients. Your views and feedback really are making a difference, we hope that we continue to hear from our patients.

We held a Governing Body meeting in public in early January and rather than talk about all the papers we discussed I want to concentrate on the first part of the agenda. We have a standing item called patient voice at the start of all our Governing Body meetings held in public.

At first I wasn’t sure how this would pan out. However I’ve realised that every patient voice story is helping us to highlight any issues and reminding us of the value of really listening to what our patients have to tell us.

At the most recent Governing Body meeting we heard from a patient whose mum has been affected by pressure ulcers. Listening to the experience helped me understand why we need to work on reducing pressure ulcers within healthcare settings and now it means more than just a number on our quality and safety update paper.

Last summer we approved a business case in an effort to improve the care of children with asthma. One of the proposals was to employ a clinical lead nurse for paediatric asthma which I’m pleased to announce we have recently recruited (welcome Laura Brooker). But before we got to this stage one of my colleagues, Dr Hilary Devitt, was keen to engage with young patients and their friends, family members and anyone else that looks after them such as school teachers.

Recently I attended a locality development session, which is a workshop for our GPs, and I watched a video we have produced (co-ordinated by Dr Devitt) showing the experiences of children from three different primary schools in our area of how they manage their asthma. The video also featured friends, parents, carers and schoolteachers.

It was an eye opener to see that there was some variations of how children felt and how much they knew about their condition and the treatments they had been given. This is really valuable insight that will help Laura and my fellow GPs as well as other health and care professionals so that we can reduce the number of children admitted to hospital as a result of their asthma. Again seeing the evidence first hand was more valuable than just reading a paper on the topic – without trying to dismiss the importance of research and evidence papers!

Back to the day job here at the CCG we’ve had some important developments that could shape the way we deliver primary care services in the future. Firstly we, the Leeds CCGs, have submitted our proposal for co-commissioning primary care services with NHS England. We have opted to go for level two. We have been working with our practices who are driving our approach to transforming primary care services in our area.

The second update is to let you know that we have submitted a bid to the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund for improving primary care. Further details on our bid will be made available if we are successful. What I can say is that again this has been supported by our member practices as well as our Governing Body and underpins our ongoing efforts to drive through real improvements in access to primary care services.

And in my other day job as a GP I’m pleased to say that we are almost ready to use the Leeds Care Record at our practice. The Leeds Care Record is a real asset to the city and is a key element of our efforts to integrate health and social care services so that our patients can benefit from seamless care. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the system as soon as I can.

Away from work our band recently celebrated our guitarist’s birthday and naturally we had to put on a show although I’ll have to confess Dry January took a back seat for one night. I’ve also realised I need to practice what I preach and take greater control of my diet as I look to get back in shape after the excesses of Christmas and despite my Dry January confession I will be watching my alcohol intake too!

I started this blog with my view about feedback in the wider corporate context but I know that within the NHS it does make a difference. So it goes without saying….your feedback is important to me too so please do let me know what more we can do to listen to and respond to the views of our patients, clinicians and wider public.



Dr Gordon Sinclair is the Clinical Chair for NHS Leeds West CCG as well as a practicing GP based at Burton Croft Surgery in Headingley, Leeds.