For the purpose of this assignment, the writer will discuss and critically analyse the extent to which service users and their families are supported by the HSE Your Service Your Say (2017) National Patient Complaints process. Our health services must continue to improve their services in order to address the changing needs of our population. Service users and their families can contribute to the process of improving these services by providing their feedback to this Your Service Your Say programme.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) is committed to ensuring that feedback; comments, compliments and complaints from those using its services is acknowledged, reviewed, acted upon and responded to and that the learning from this feedback guides our quality enhancement plans (HSE, 2017).
The HSE aims to create an environment that welcomes service user feedback, as all people have the right to comment, compliment or complain about any service they are provided with, by the HSE to contribute to the delivery of high quality patient care.
This 2017 HSE Policy has been developed to assist service users in providing feedback as well as enable staff to respond to feedback effectively and has been structured around five principles that form the basis of the feedback system (HSE, 2017).
The HSE recognizes that there is an abundance of benefits to be gained from an efficient feedback system embedded in and consistent with the core values of health services: care, compassion, trust and learning. Such benefits would ultimately lead to prompt and thorough complaint resolution, delivering high-quality and patient safety treatment, increased service user satisfaction, encouraging better health outcomes, continuous learning, improving quality, providing quality control through continuous service user feedback on service delivery, increasing public confidence in the provision of services and the reduction of complaint handling costs (HSE, 2017).
This Your Service Your Say programme has brought around many changes in relation to how public hospitals in Ireland manage complaints. This policy includes governance changes, emphasises learning from service user feedback, emphasises the need for resolution from the first point of contact, has led to the development of a Complaints Management System and most importantly includes the recommendations of the complaints officer. The policy aims to create a ‘No Wrong Door’ approach. All staff are encouraged to embrace feedback and attempt to assist the service user in the complaint making process. The ‘ No Wrong Door ‘ policy guarantees that wherever a complaint is presented, the relevant staff are responsible for directing the complaint to the appropriate place to address the feedback (HSE, 2017).
The five key principles that the Your Service Your Say programme adhere to include, enabling the service user to provide feedback, listening and responding to feedback, supporting service users, supporting staff members and service improvement and accountability. According to the Ombudsman’s Report, the main barriers to giving feedback or making a complaint were identified by participants as a fear of repercussions for their own or their relatives’ treatment, a lack of confidence that anything would change as a result of complaining (Ombudsman.ie, 2015). Members of the public indicated a lack of knowledge on how to provide feedback or make a complaint. HSE and hospitals need to publicize the information and support available to promote and assist people in sharing their experiences. Complaints should be seen as a constructive way to ensure continuous improvement of health care services (Ombudsman.ie, 2015).
Enabling feedback: Service user feedback consists of the views and opinions of service users on the care that they have experienced. The HSE’s goal is to create an environment where service users feel encouraged to provide feedback. Information is made widely available to service users to explain how feedback should be given. There are multiple access and referral points which are actively promoted and user friendly to Service Users.
The feedback process is easy to use for all Service Users and provides the supports necessary to assist them in this process. All health care providers are subject to a complaints process monitored by a designated Complaint Manager (HSE, 2017). Staff are encouraged to accept complaints positively as a way to create positive relationships, instilling significant health care changes that ultimately lead to a more secure, advanced health care provider (HSE, 2017).
Change in the current healthcare sector is critical in enhancing patient outcomes. Patient feedback will give healthcare organisations relevant and valuable knowledge on how to improve patient safety (Weingart et al, 2005). Collecting data on adverse patient interactions increases healthcare organizations ‘ ability to detect systemic care issues. This was illustrated in the United Kingdom through the Francis report on 1200 unnecessary deaths at the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Hospital over 3 years (Francis, 2013). The report found that written feedback from the patient had identified the issues of negligence and poor care at the hospital over the course of the incident (Clwyd et al, 2013).