Thursday 17 September 2009

Finding great GPs and fantastic hospitals

[Today's announcement by the Health Secretary will be of interest to all those using, following, or already working with, iWantgreatcare. As you are aware, the iWantgreatcare service is the only way for the UK public to get information on individual doctors to help them choose great care for themselves and their families.]

As Andy Burnham said today, the NHS is good, but needs to be great.

In fact, much of the NHS is not even good - but parts of it are fantastic.

Harnessing the experience and views of patients and their relatives is the key to driving out the poor, building on the good, and identifying the fantastic - this is the central truth underpinning iWantGreatCare.

But today's speech by the Secretary of State is important in announcing the overdue policy change that will allow the power of patients to drive the quality improvements that can make the NHS great. By giving patients the ability to choose who cares for them, and by linking hospital budgets to patient experience, those delivering care who do not focus on the total satisfaction and experience of their patients will be exposed, will lose patients and will lose funding. They will improve - or be replaced by better services, delivering better quality care.

With free choice over who cares for themselves and their family, patients will seek out the information to make informed decisions. NHS Choices, iWantGreatCare and others will meet this need, empowering patients and allowing them to find truly great care. Indeed, the thousands of patients already using iWantGreatCare shows the scale of public demand for transparent, independent knowledge about the quality and experience of healthcare - and the unique way in which users value the views and experiences of their fellow patients.

The best NHS Trusts, doctors and hospitals know this already and are using new ways to capture, understand and use patient experience to improve quality, reduce costs and ensure total focus on the needs of their patients. iWantGreatCare already works with some of the UK's most innovative healthcare providers; NHS Trusts who know that continuously capturing and understanding real-time patient experience from thousands of users, every day of the year, across all the services they deliver is the key to quality improvement. These are organisations not afraid of the suggestions and criticisms of users, but who actively encourage and facilitate such feedback, seeing all comments as opportunities to correct and improve everything they do.

Today's announcement shows that they (and their patients) will be the winners.


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