Guest column by health chief Anne Eden: Our Big Conversation is improving patient experience

Anne Eden, chief of Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust
Anne Eden, chief of Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust

Since November we have been holding a ‘Big Conversation’ with our patients.

This has been really insightful into the recent experiences of our patients, their carers and relatives.

Overwhelmingly, we have heard that the majority of people we spoke to, were happy with the quality of care they received but quite often their experiences of our administrative processes have been less positive.

This will be a focus for us in the coming year.

The Big Conversation has helped to shape and inform our ongoing quality improvement programme which provides us with the focus to make the right improvements to the quality of care and patient experience.

We put the building blocks in place last year, with investment made to our environment, such as the new acute medical unit at Stoke Mandeville hospital, where GPs can now directly refer urgent cases, allowing patients to be seen by a specialist doctor much more quickly.

These changes have been positive – our urgent and emergency services, whilst still very challenged, have coped far better this winter than previous years.

Our improvement plans are widespread.

Recruiting and retaining staff is one area of focus and the Board have agreed £5m additional investment in nurse staffing costs.

We have over 100 new nurses starting with us between January and April and we are working hard to recruit even more.

We’ve also recruited more senior doctors, available in the evenings and weekends.

However we are not complacent and I know that there is always more we can do to continuously improve.

I would encourage patients to let us know about their experiences and what more we can do to improve the patient experience for everyone.

We really value the feedback we receive from patients and we are learning and 
responding to what we’ve heard.

Patients can send in their feedback, via our website or by completing the Family and Friends Test when it is given to them on leaving the hospital.