The patient advocate

Miriam Rivas-Aguilar is the chief operating officer OF Patient Opinion

Benenden

Patient Opinion is a website that allows patients and carers to give anonymous feedback about their experiences of healthcare, in public and in real time. Around half of the 150,000 people who have used our site want to say ‘thanks’ in appreciation of the care they have received. The rest want to share constructive comment that they hope will lead to improvements.

The most common concern is about communication — or, rather, lack of it. Typically, people report having been unaware of what to expect — for instance, they may have had to spend hours in a clinic waiting room before their name was called, without explanation. Or they may have been upset by the way bad news was broken to them, or a particular clinician’s bedside manner, or feel that they were not kept informed.

Around 7,000 healthcare professionals around the UK listen to the stories that the service users tell us on Patient Opinion and they share them with their staff. Positive postings are uplifting for health professionals to hear and criticisms should lead to changes.

People feel real ownership and loyalty to the health service and tell us they want to pass their experiences on so that they can improve the quality of care for the next person. We help them to do this.

www.patientopinion.org.uk