Local health staff are to gain a first-hand insight into the everyday experiences which patients have of GP practices, hospitals, clinics, care homes and mental health facilities during a first-of-its-kind initiative which starts next week. 

HealthEast, the clinical commissioning group for Great Yarmouth and Waveney, will launch the groundbreaking ‘Big Listen’ project on Monday 3rd March 2014. Thought to be the first initiative of its kind in the country, it will see 132 staff visit service providers at random to learn what patients believe could be done to make services better and improve the first impressions which people receive when using the NHS.

During the week of visits, health and social care staff and specially trained patient representatives will:

• observe the everyday experience of patients and carers
• focus on the first impressions which people have when accessing health services
• find out more about what matters to people using health services
• understand how the NHS can work better with partners to improve patient experiences

All areas where the CCG buys services will receive a visit, including hospital wards and clinics, GP practices, community hospitals, mental health facilities, out of hours and ambulance services, care homes, nursing homes and voluntary sector facilities. Although providers know the visits will take place, they have not been told the exact time or date.

Rebecca Driver, Director of Engagement with HealthEast, said: “We are committed to making sure that people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney receive the best possible healthcare, and are always looking for ways to improve the services we commission still further.

“The Big Listen gives us the chance to visit healthcare facilities across the east coast so that we can talk to patients, carers and visitors and find out more about their everyday experiences of healthcare.

“Importantly, we will be asking them to tell us what we could do to make things better for them, which could be anything from making waiting rooms more comfortable or displaying more information in their GP surgery to improving signage at their community hospital.

“This will be a genuine opportunity for us to talk to our patients and find out more about the changes we could make which would improve the service they receive. We’d encourage anyone who sees us out and about next week to take the chance to tell us what they think.”

Findings from the Big Listen will be analysed by an independent expert from the University of East Anglia and fed back to all of Great Yarmouth and Waveney’s healthcare providers later in the spring.

MIKE DANIELS Trailer Sales 01986 893025