Patient Experience Quarterly Performance
1 July to 30 September 2008
Chief Executive Directorate
1.1 Changes in legislation to patient and public involvement for NHS Trusts
were reported to the Board in March 2008. Relevant key points from the
National Health Service Act 2006 and the Local Government and Public
Involvement in Health Act 2007, are listed below for ease of reference.
1.2 These 2 important Acts replace the former duties under Section 11 of the
Health and Social Care Act 2001. The renewed duties require NHS Trusts
to make arrangements to involve and consult patients and the public in:
Developing and considering proposals for changes in the way
services are provided;
Decisions to be made that affect how services operate.
1.3 The National Health Service Act 2006 consolidated much of the current
legislation concerning the health service and came into force on 1 March
1.4 Section 11 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 is now section 242 of
the consolidated NHS Act 2006. Section 242 applies in England to,
Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), NHS
trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts.
1.5 The Trust is committed to delivering services shaped around the needs of
patients and carers and the above legislation provides clear guidance on
how the Trust will work to achieve this aspiration.
1.6 The vision of Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham1 is to ensure an NHS
that is fair, personal, effective and safe. Darzi‟s final report was published
in June 20082.
Vision set out in the Department of Health report ‘Our NHS, Our future: NHS next stage review
interim report: October 2007’
Department of Health report ‘High Quality Care for All, NHS Next Stage Review Final Report
1.7 A further important publication entitled ‘Changing for the Better - DOH
Guidance when Undertaking Major Changes to the NHS, June 2008’ 3 has
been reviewed by the Directors. This report was as a result of Sir Ian
Carruther‟s initial report on major service change published in February
2007. This was clear that patients‟ clinical needs must come first in any
1.8 The Trust will fully adhere to the guidance when planning major service
changes which require consultation with key stakeholders.
1.9 The performance framework for this work has been formalised and agreed
with a revised Patient and Public Involvement and Community
Engagement Strategy 2008 to 20104. The document describes how the
Trust will involve and consult patients and the public in how services are
planned and developed to provide person centred care.
2.1 The purpose of this performance report is to provide evidence, assurance
and details of the plethora of methods employed within the Trust to
capture patient and public feedback and how these views impact on
service improvements. This is referred to as the „patient experience‟.
2.2 This valuable feedback illuminates the patient and carer experience of the
ambulance service and has been gathered from the press and media
office, Strategic internal and external communications, Website, Patient &
Public Involvement (PPI), Equality and Diversity and Community
Engagement work-streams, Appreciations, „Tell Us about It‟ feedback
leaflets, Patient, Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) and the formal
complaints procedures, including the latest early adopter pilot work led by
the Department of Health called ‘Making Experiences Count’.5
3.1 SWAST remains the lowest receiver of complaints and concerns for the
whole of the NHS family in the South West and this is reflected nationally
for ambulance services.
Available from www.dh/gov.publications
Strategy reviewed annually to comply with the NHSLA Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts
Reported to the Board in March 2007 available www.swast.nhs.uk
4. Patient Contacts
4.1 Table 1 shows the number of patient contacts compared to complaints,
concerns and appreciations for A&E activity
Table 1 - A&E
Month Contacts Complaints PALS
July 75,623 23 16
August 71,633 28 22
September 57,047 35 26
Total 204,303 86 64
Table 2 - Urgent Care Service (UCS)
Month Contacts Complaints PALS
July 16,290 5 0
August 19,048 9 2
September 15,117 2 0
Total 50,455 16 2
5. Appreciations, PALS and Complaints
5.1 Table 3 provides a comparison for the % of appreciations, PALS and
Percentage of contact with the Trust
1 June - 30 Sept 2008
Appreciations PALS Issues
6.1 The general findings and key trends are highlighted within section 4 of this
Majority of appreciations are for frontline operational staff who are
congratulated for their superb contribution to continuing public
confidence in the Trust;
The Trust recognises that those staff who work behind the scenes
are less likely to receive appreciation letters but publicly recognise
and acknowledge in this report their equal contribution to upholding
the strong reputation of the service;
6.3 PALS and complaints
6.3.1 Table 4 shows the categories for the total number and % of complaints
and PALS finalised.
Categories PALS Complaints Total %
Access and Waiting 16 23 39 23
Clinical Care 7 37 44 26
Communication 24 29 53 32
Security Issues and
Driving Issues 19 13 32 19
Total 66 102 168 100
6.4 The highest area of patient concern for this performance report is
communication. The classification and associated statistics for each of
these feedback areas comprise of:
Attitude of staff (23);
Information provided by Trust staff (16);
Breakdown of Communication (12);
Respect and Dignity (0).
6.5 Top Impact Actions for patient experience feedback
6.6 A concern was received regarding an emergency call where a patient was
experiencing considerable pain, whereby the call was triaged through the
Trust‟s Advanced Medical Priority Dispatch System (AMPDS) in one of the
Trust‟s Clinical Hubs (Control centres) and referred to NHS Direct.
Impact Action: The Trust has highlighted the need for details of a
patient's pain score to be included within the questioning prompted by
AMPDS. A local protocol has been introduced by the Clinical Hubs which
now includes this question. In addition senior managers have feed this
back to the national working group and providers of the software system to
influence other services nationally to adopt the same improvement.
6.7 A concern was received from a relative regarding communication
procedures within the Urgent Care Service. The enquirer was unhappy
that a duty doctor had tried to contact a relative by telephone and did not
receive a reply so left a message and subsequently did not make a follow
Impact Action: The Trust has introduced a new procedure that provides
clear guidance to healthcare professionals working for the Urgent Care
Service on the communication procedure when a clinician is unable to
contact a patient.
6.8 A complaint was received regarding the Trust‟s involvement in an
emergency rescue of a patient.
Impact Action: A multi-agency meeting is being convened to evaluate the
management of this incident and to ensure lessons learned inform future
7. Media and Reputation Management
7.1 Table 5 provides an activity summary for this quarter
July 2008 August 2008 September 2008
Number of press cuttings 948 442 1237
Number of media enquiries 304 178 286
The months of July and August show a dramatic decline in the number
of cuttings received. This can be attributed to the „silly season‟ and
high uptake of annual leave;
The proportion of negative media coverage remains at approximately
Geographical profiling shows a consistent rise in contact with and
coverage in, media outlets nationally. The percentage of national
coverage stands at 31%, which can be attributed to an increase in the
publication of web-based articles;
Newspapers continue to account for the majority of Trust coverage.
8. Trust continues to scoop awards
8.1 An impressive total of 16 award nominations were submitted this quarter
to organising bodies including; BUPA Foundation, HSJ, the Pride of Britain
and Children of Courage. The awards showcased a variety of Trust
initiatives, partnership working, excellent clinical practices, innovative
projects and staff and patient bravery.
8.2 One short listed entry for the Pride of Britain awards secured coverage
from numerous regional and national sources; Five year old Jakob from
Frome, Somerset saved his mother‟s life when she suffered an epileptic
fit. Trust staff who treated her were involved in the positive coverage.
8.3 The Ambulance Service Institute (ASI) has announced that this year‟s
prestigious Special Service accolade is being awarded to a crew from
Helston, who undertook a brave cliff rescue. They have been invited to the
House of Commons to collect this prestigious award.
8.4 Further to the positive national coverage generated by an incident
involving a crew from Plymouth, who saved the life of a patient trapped
under a train, the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service awarded
the crew an accolade for bravery.
9. Compact – working in partnership
9.1 South West Regional Compact Partners, of which SWAST is an active
member, has been presented with a national award. The group received
the excellence Award for collaborative regional working at a ceremony in
9.2 The Compact is an agreement between organisations to promote better
partnership working and improve outcomes for people and their
9.3 Compact membership has increased to include representation from NHS
South West and the Commission for Equality and Human Rights and
South West Ambulance Service NHS Trust‟s sign up to the compact has
been viewed as a positive step to collaborative working.
9.4 The future of the Compact is currently out to consultation. The key issue is
whether the Compact should remain a voluntary agreement between the
Voluntary Councils of Services in England and government/public sector
or whether it should be put onto a statutory basis; which means that sign
up to the Compact will be enforceable in law.
9.5 Early indications are that members do not believe making the Compact
into a set of statutory obligations would strengthen relationships. They
believe that effective partnership working is better promoted through
engagement – rather than being pressured to do so. The Compact has
achieved much this year, including establishing a voluntary care sector
health interest group at regional, sub-regional and local level.
10. Strategic communications
10.1 Nick Pearson has joined the trust as assistant head of communications
and PR. This has enabled Lynne Paramor to take up a new role as
foundation trust lead and while she is in this new role, Nick will be
managing the communications and patient experience team.
10.2 Nick is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a
former journalist on weekly, daily and regional titles. He joins the trust from
Devon Primary Care Trust.
10.3 The communications & PR team will continues to take forward the overall
Master Performance Framework which capture the evidence of achieving
the corporate objectives of the trust.
10.4 Work has begun on a new corporate communications guide. This is
intended to bring about uniformity in brand image. The new guide will
include, for the first time, a document which aims to spread good practice
in written communications and help to further improve public perception of
the ambulance service.
10.5 Work has also begun to prepare marketing materials for the Foundation
Trust programme and the upcoming patient transport tender process and
plans are being progressed over a website/intranet redesign.
11. Communicate 08
11.1 The trust‟s assistant head of communications & PR attended the national
NHS communications conference, held in London, on November 5 and 6.
11.2 This was the first event of its kind and was attended by communications
leads from across all NHS sectors, including the Director of
Communications for the Strategic Health Authority, ambulance, primary
care, acute and mental health trusts.
11.3 The conference was hosted by BBC Newsnight presenter Gavin Esler and
leading communications professionals from both the public and private
sectors gave lectures and held workshops about the importance of
communications in the modern NHS.
11.4 The following provides a brief overview of key messages for trust boards.
David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, talked about the importance of
strategic communications to him personally. Unless communications were
managed at the highest level with good practitioners then the NHS would not be
not as effective as it could be. NHS organisations should harness the expertise
within their communications departments and work closely with them. He would
be making this clear to leading figures in the NHS, he added.
Colin Douglas, director of NHS communications, spoke of communicators being
key to the fundamental change in the service. The NHS should embrace strategic
communications and social marketing techniques but change could only be
achieved if NHS trust saw its true potential. There was a need to end the “press
release and leaflet” mentality in favour of targeted and strategically managed
Alistair Campbell, former press secretary to Tony Blair, spoke of the modern
world being defined by the pace of change. Big societal changes were
happening, characterised by the merging of citizen and consumer. People now
expected private levels of service from the public sector. There was a stronger
participative media and there had been a rise in the democratic corporation;
organisations that cannot operate in a vacuum. He also spoke of the importance
of linking organisational objectives to communications activity.
Professor Anne Gregory, leading communications academic, spoke of the
importance of the strategic management of communications. Department of
Health now realised the power of strategic communications and had
commissioned her to conduct a national research programme into excellence in
This was described as “what does good communications look like” study and
amounts to a systems analysis approach to the issue.
Tom King, BAA director of communications and former advisor to the Labour
Government, talked about the power of communications in crisis management.
Mr King had handled communications during the 7/7 London bombing, Omagh
and the Heathrow terminal 5 debacle. He offered valuable insights and practical
solutions for dealing with crises.
12. Implications of the likely national direction of communications
management on SWAST
12.1 The trust has a communications & PR department that is managed
strategically and staffed by suitably qualified communications
professionals. Strategic objectives are also linked to tactical
12.2 Awareness of two-way communications, a central tenet of strategic
communications management, is high and indeed, is practiced with focus
groups and chat room use commonplace in both internal external trust
12.3 Communications practitioners are well qualified with graduate/post
graduate qualifications and relevant and varied experience in the field of
communication and marketing. There is a good knowledge of social
marketing techniques within most of the team.
12.4 The location of the communications function within NHS organisations is
key when delivering strategic management. In SWAST it is managed
within the chief executive‟s department and there is a presence at board
12.5 Communications activities are conducted in a planned and systematic way
where this is possible. Communications activities are also linked to
corporate objectives which demonstrate a „golden thread‟.
12.6 The factors above indicate that the communications function at SWAST is
already managed strategically and therefore in line with the wishes of the
NHS CEO and NHS director of communications.
12.7 In this regard SWAST can be said to be ahead of national expectations.
13. Proactive press
13.1 A total of 19 proactive press releases were disseminated to the Trust‟s
portfolio of media contacts on a local, regional, and increasingly often,
national basis. This is an increase on the last reporting period, when the
figure stood at 13.
13.2 The topics of these releases vary greatly, many of which incorporate
messages in support of the Trust‟s Public Health strategy; „Prevention is
better than cure‟. Alcohol warnings, smoking cessation (focusing on the
pictorial warnings now featuring on cigarette packets) and being „water
wise‟ – a topic ideally suited to the summer months.
13.3 The Trust worked successfully in partnership with the Strategic Health
Authority during the latest smoking cessation campaign which secured a
great deal of coverage in the media.
13.4 Rural Health week was also supported, with an emphasis on improving
emergency vehicle access to homes and premises, which are not clearly
identifiable. National blood pressure week and a „Careless Calls Cost
Lives‟ campaign also generated large amounts of positive coverage.
Further, details of the Board Meetings and the AGM falling within this
quarter were also released. The reappointment of two Board Non
executive members also made the headlines locally and regionally.
Responder recruitment, events, generosity from local Freemasons, and
„Making your Experiences Count‟ are other areas, which were the subject
of press releases during this reporting period.
14. Reactive press
14.1 Throughout this quarter a total of six press statements were released.
Three of these were distributed to multiple sources.
14.2 The majority of these statements were requested by Dorset media
14.3 One statement was proactively planned in advance of the Healthcare
Commission‟s report concerning emergency and urgent care. The
coverage for this was predominantly positive, although in Dorset there
were a few negative angles taken.
14.4 The remaining statements were all prepared on a reactive basis to a
variety of issues.
15.1 An incident involving a tour bus overturning made national news. A
comprehensive statement concerning the Trust‟s involvement was issued
within an hour of the call being received. Approximately 30 patients were
treated and thankfully their injuries were not described as serious. Steve
Smith, the Assistant Clinical Hub Manager (East) gave a number of
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interviews shortly after leaving the scene and this was used widely by the
Gcap Media group.
15.2 An incident involving the theft of an ECG machine from a Plymouth
ambulance made headlines locally after a press release was distributed
containing all the details.
15.3 A cave rescue in Dartmouth attracted the attention of many local and
regional media sources.
15.4 After a light aircraft crashed in Exeter, many calls were taken from local
and regionally based media. This story appeared on several online news
sites nationally and attending officer Frank Mallet gave interviews to
16.1 A „Careless Calls Cost Lives‟ campaign (re-branded from the previous
„Inappropriate Calls‟ campaign) was run during the summer months
Securing coverage from numerous sources incorporating both print and
broadcast media. The press release contained the details of some
surprising 999 calls which had never been released before. This will be re-
released in the run-up to the festive season and it is hoped that it will
receive interest on a national scale to equal the success of this campaign.
16.2 „Getting the Right Treatment‟ is another campaign that ran during this
quarter. The detailed press release and accompanying leaflets were
distributed to each media contact across the four counties and explain
how, when and where to access the variety of health services on offer.
Numerous articles from a variety of sources were reported across the four
16.3 „Know your numbers‟ week is an annual campaign run by the British Heart
Foundation. The Trust supports this by issuing a press release which
upholds the values and principles of its public health strategy. The release
emphasises the need for regular blood pressure checks and highlights the
life threatening illnesses associated with having untreated high blood
16.4 There is an ongoing campaign for community responder recruitment.
During this reporting period a total of three press releases were distributed
relating to the responder schemes.
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17. Dissemination of media alerts – internal communications
17.1 Three media updates were distributed during this quarter; two in August
and one in September. Positive feedback has been received about this
method of communicating. It showcases the Trust‟s press office activity
and keeps directors and senior managers abreast of media developments.
17.2 This method of communication is also used as an evidencing tool because
all press office and other communications activities are showcased.
Further, these information records are utilised as a referencing tool
wherever practicable and assist in the preparation of the Trust‟s monthly
media reporting and analysis.
18. First Bike on Scene
18.1 The Commercial Training department offer a pioneering course to
motorcyclists across the four counties. Entitled „First bike on scene‟ this
one day course empowers participants with the knowledge of how to treat
fellow motorcyclists should they be first on the scene of a collision.
Despite previous press releases and articles being published about this
potentially lifesaving scheme, it has been the subject of much praise from
media sources this quarter.
18.2 A feature appeared on BBC Spotlight throughout all of its bulletins over
the course of a day. Additionally, interviews were broadcast on BBC Radio
Devon. A large number of calls from interested individuals and groups
were received as a result. This saved the Trust thousands of pounds on
advertising and continues to generate revenue from an increased
19.1 This quarter has been very successful in terms of securing positive
coverage via broadcasting. This encompasses radio and television
interviews, and extends to activities including the production of podcasts
19.2 The Trust recently took delivery of its first corporate DVD. This innovative
film was produced by London based company Ocicat and centres on
vehicle safety. Predominantly aimed at front line staff, it is endorsed by
VOSA (Vehicle Operating Standards Agency). The 15 minute piece was
produced as a joint venture with the Fleet department, who earmarked the
funds for this project. The Trust‟s Training department also played an
integral role in the production of the film. It is expected to be rolled out to
other ambulance trusts and form a key part of the Trust‟s core induction.
This successful DVD has received some positive, constructive feedback.
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19.3 A South Devon based paramedic Haydn Glanville has been selected for a
national, prime time television series similar in nature to that of „I‟m a
celebrity, get me out of here‟. His destination is unknown and the Trust will
be able to capitalise on this positively on his return.
19.4 Broadcast dates as yet are unknown but Haydn was given a brief and
filming was undertaken of Trust vehicles and the air ambulance to be used
as part of his introduction to the series. This is an excellent opportunity to
positively build our brand nationally.
19.5 Following the distribution of a press release about Britain‟s longest serving
paramedic John Spindler, who retired recently, his story appeared in the
Sun, the Mirror, the Guardian, the Times, the Daily Express, Radio 4 and
the Telegraph, as well as a live surprise feature on the first episode of the
new series of Paul O‟Grady Show, aired on Monday 22 nd September. It
was a great success and featured interviews with Ken Wenman and two
other Trust personnel who had worked with him for a number of years.
This is excellent in PR terms and provided another excellent opportunity to
build the Trust‟s brand nationally in a positive capacity.
19.6 The official launch of the new Devon Air Ambulance was very successful,
with a high media attendance rate. As a consequence, one of the Trust‟s
aircrew secured a number of interviews through various broadcasting
channels including radio and television (BBC Spotlight).
19.7 The Trust‟s Head of PR and Strategic Communications has secured a
regular slot on BBC Radio Devon (Plymouth area) where she has the
opportunity to discuss a topic of choice. This is an excellent opportunity to
continue building the Trust‟s profile, and as far as is known, this is not
practiced by any other NHS Trust Communications team in the South
19.8 The Trust is also a part of a Devon Communications group who have
secured regular slots on BBC Radio Devon (Exeter) where different
agencies host a representative to take part in the mid day live chat show
about issues in their organisation. This is being managed by the
Communication Director at the Peninsula Medical Schoole.
19.9 Other television appearances secured by the Trust include; a piece aired
on BBC Spotlight highlighting the valuable work undertaken by Clinical
Advisors operating within both Clinical Hubs, who ensure that patients
receive the most suitable care pathway appropriated to their condition.
Further, ahead of the introduction of pictorial warnings on cigarette
packets, a feature appeared on ITV Westcountry, which included the
health dangers associated with smoking. Following the press release that
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was sent out regarding the access of healthcare over the bank holiday
weekend, another feature appeared on BBC Spotlight, detailing the high
number of calls expected by the Trust and how these would be dealt with.
BBC Points West also ran a story about the rising costs of fuel, which has
been one of the most topical subjects throughout this reporting period.
20.1 The Trust web site and staff intranet site are regularly updated with
20.2 There have been a total of 82,901 visits to the trust‟s website in the
20.3 Work is underway with commercial training to help promote courses
through the internet.
20.4 A working group has been formed between communications and IT to look
at redeveloping and modernising the existing internet/intranet sites in
preparation for the Trust‟s Foundation Trust application.
20.5 Table 7 shows the 10 most popular web pages viewed by users.
Popular Pages Jul-08 Aug-08 Sept-08
Individual Press Releases 2,052 1,194 1,025
Recruitment 1,098 1,055 1,224
Careers 1,065 1,112 1,252
Responder Group Pages 1,044 765 791
Careers & Vacancies 1,023 980 1,092
NHS Jobs 889 874 901
Key Services 735 671 808
Stations 688 693 828
Responder Scheme 631 579 531
Contact Us 609 577 719
20.6 Table 8 provides an analysis of the top documents viewed. The Chief
Executive‟s national urgent care booklet, written and produced on behalf
of the 12 ambulance services in England, remains the most popular.
20.7 The booklet, aptly named the „Changing Face of Ambulance Services‟ is
attracting interest from Commissioners on how the Trust is and can
provide integrated health services within the health and social care
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Popular Downloads Jul-08 Aug-08 Sept-08
Changing Face of Ambulance 278 281 287
Annual Report 07/08 180 153 167
LP036 Rib Injuries 153 156 211
ECP guidelines 149 123 121
LP029 Insect bites 137 140 107
LP016 wound care minor burns 111 117 113
Major incident plan 104 84 104
LP056 Stitches/sutures aftercare 102 100 97
24/7 March edition 98 71 (+June ed)214
LP053 Dorset out of hours 85 84 83
20.8 The staff portal continues to be a popular tool to enable staff to work more
flexibly. August and September saw usage increase to 719 and 716
respectively, but October saw a marked increase with 837 people logging
in to view Trust information.
21. Marketing materials - leaflets
21.1 The Strategic Communication and PR team are in the process of
redesigning the Trust‟s leaflets as and when reprinting is required.
21.2 Table 9 shows the number of Trust leaflets that have been distributed.
This does not include the use of current stocks known to be on stations of
which it is difficult to ascertain accurate statistical data but it provides
further assurance of the numerous types of literature available to staff,
patients and the public.
Jul Aug Sept
2008 2008 2008
Dorset Out of Hours Medical Service -
1,156 0 0 1,156
Information for Patients
Somerset Out of Hours Medical – Service
200 0 4,000 4,200
Information for Patients
PALS 0 0 50 50
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22. Public access and information leaflets
22.1 Downloading pdf versions of leaflets from the web site is becoming the
preferred route for accessing the Trust‟s Patient Advice Leaflets by
members of the public, with a total of 9,130 downloads during the quarter.
22.2 Table 10 shows the following five clinical patient information leaflets were
downloaded a total of 1,707 times.
Jul Aug Sept
Patient Information Leaflet Total
2008 2008 2008
Rib Injury (LP036) 153 156 121 421
Insect Bites (LP029) 137 140 107 384
Wound Care / Minor Burns (LP016) 111 117 113 341
Stitches/Sutures Aftercare (LP056) 102 100 97 299
Dorset Out of Hours (LP053) 85 84 83 252
22.3 The Strategic Communication and PR team has supplied SWAST Patient
Information Leaflets to Scottish Ambulance Service as part of an income
22.4 Braille and large print versions of the recently published 2007/08 Annual
Report are now available and an audio tape version is on order to
increase the Trust‟s suite of accessible communication materials to ensure
„hard to reach‟ groups can be kept fully informed.
23. Questionnaires and Feedback
23.1 Throughout this reporting period analysis has been undertaken on the
questionnaires gathered from the four NHS 60 celebratory events
organised throughout the first week of July. The feedback received is
largely positive and the questionnaires were well received. Personal data
was also gathered during this process, which will help to inform the
foundation trust membership recruitment.
23.2 A Communications stock take questionnaire was distributed with the June
edition of Twentyfourseven. A total of 3000 questionnaires were sent out
to each newsletter recipient, including Trust staff members. Participation
has been strongly encouraged and requests for the completion and return
of these has been posted in the Chief Executive‟s Bulletin. A number of
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completed questionnaires have been returned but not a significantly large
sample for purposes of analysis. This questionnaire was designed to
gauge the effectiveness of the communication methods utilised by the
Trust‟s PR and Communications team. The feedback will inform future
communication tools and methods practiced by the Trust.
24. Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) and event attendance
24.1 The Trust continues to receive a large number of requests and invitations
from schools, colleges, groups and to numerous community events. With
the recent emphasis on performance, the Trust has been unable to honour
as many requests. This can also be attributed to the large staff annual
leave uptake throughout the summer months. Further, the Trust relies
solely on volunteers to support events of this nature as opposed to other
services who employ dedicated personnel for carrying out community
24.2 A total of 20 events were recorded on the PPI intranet diary for this
reporting period. Although numerous requests are made by the team
encouraging staff to populate the fields of the brief PPI form, which is held
on the intranet, this process is not always carried out and therefore it is
likely that this figure far exceeds 20. However, the majority of the
approximated figure of 20 events were supported by Trust staff.
25. The Trust’s multi-purpose PR and Education Unit
25.1 The utilisation of this innovative unit is becoming more frequent. The unit
was used approximately 15 times and appeared at a variety of events
including; the four NHS 60 health awareness events (one in each county).
The PR unit is an integral part of the Pacesetters initiative currently
operating in the North Devon area targeting farmers and led by a
Barnstaple based ECP. On a fortnightly basis, health clinics are offered at
farmers markets across the area. This initiative is extremely well received.
25.2 The North Devon Show, Blue Light Day in Dorset and dedicated health
MOT event in Cornwall were other events supported by the PR unit during
this quarter. One of the questions contained within the PPI questionnaire
(see section 17) specifically refers to the introduction and usage of the PR
unit and the overwhelming majority of respondents deemed it an excellent
method of direct communication.
26. Marketing Materials
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26.1 Following the successful securing of funds for a further order of marketing
materials, these have been orders and the first items have been delivered
to Trust Headquarters. The items include; water bottles, Frisbees,
highlighters, bookmarks and stickers. Aimed at a variety of ages, these
branded items also contain public heath messages and the website is also
included in order to continue building the Trust‟s well renowned and
26.2 These items have been well received by staff for taking into schools and to
other events. The purpose of these materials also extends to act as an
incentive for people to complete questionnaires. The British Heart
Foundation also issue „Artie Beat‟ books, which are educational books for
children aged 4-7. Similarly, the Trust has a supply of Mini-Medic‟ books,
which are an educational resource provided at no cost.
27. Equality and Diversity – targeting the ‘Hard to Reach’
27.1 The groundbreaking Pacesetter projects running across the four counties
continue to develop positively. The health clinics for farmers (refer to 19.2)
continue to be well supported and the launch of the migrant worker DVD
and associated booklet in Cornwall are near completion, to be marked
with an official launch.
27.2 The „Learn to Live‟ initiative, aimed at equipping young people with the
important knowledge of safe driving practices, gathers momentum and
has now been rolled out beyond Torquay, where it originated, to the
28. Tell Us About It’ feedback leaflets
28.1 During the period 10 hard copy „Tell Us About It leaflets‟ were received by
28.2 A proactive campaign was launched in August to continue to raise the
profile of these patient feedback mechanisms for members of the public.
29. Making Experiences Count (MEC)
29.1 The Trust has already put into place processes to shift towards this new
approach reported to Trust Board in March 2008. and has re-categorised
complaints and concerns received as Making Experiences Count within its
DATIX software capture system.
29.2 As reported in the previous patient experience report the
department has re-catergorised complaints and concerns received as
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„Making Experiences Count‟ within its Datix software capture system. The
statistics for complaints continue to rise from the previous quarter because
the data was previously divided within Patient, Advice and Liaison
concerns and formal complaints6, but are now combined.
29.3 The PALS data capture now reflects minor issues such as requests for
leaflets, signposting to other agencies, queries about the Trust for
academic research purpose etc.
29.4 Table 11 shows complaints finalised by service area.
Clinical Directorate 0
Clinical Hubs (999 Controls) 2
Patient Transport Service (PTS) 21
Urgent Care Service 16
Other NHS Trusts 1
29.5 Table 12 shows PALS finalised by service area.
Clinical Hubs (999 Controls) 5
Other NHS Trusts 11
Patient Transport Service (PTS) 14
Urgent Care Service 2
Minor Injury Units 1
Support Functions 1
30. Complaints and PALS by Operational area
30.1 Table 13 shows complaints and PALS by subject areas.
Healthcare Commission Spotlight on Complaints, a report on second-stage complaints about the
NHS in England April 2008
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Subject area PALS Complaints Total
(Cornwall/Isles Scilly & Devon)
East Devon OLM 1 6 7
North Devon OLM 2 4 6
South Devon OLM 2 7 9
West Devon OLM 0 7 7
East Cornwall OLM 2 3 5
West Cornwall OLM 0 2 2
Total 7 29 36
Subject area PALS Complaints Total
(Dorset & Somerset)
South Somerset OLM 3 5 8
West Somerset OLM 4 5 9
East Dorset OLM 2 1 3
West Dorset OLM 5 2 7
Central Dorset 5 3 8
Total 19 16 35
Clinical & Urgent Care Directorate
East Hub (999 control room) 2 6 8
West Hub (999 control room) 9 15 24
Dorset – UCS 1 9 10
Somerset – UCS 1 7 8
Clinical Department 1 0 1
Minor Injury Unit 1 0 1
Total 15 37 52
Patient Transport Services
Plymouth and Cornwall Area 0 4 4
Exeter Area 4 5 9
Somerset Area 6 3 9
Dorset Area 3 7 10
Total 13 19 32
Human Resources 0 0 0
Other NHS Trusts 1 0 1
Total 11 1 12
Total Number of complaints, concerns and
issues 66 102 168
31. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – NHS Complaint Legislation
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31.1 The Trust continues to be committed to investigating any complaint or
concern as swiftly as possible to minimise any anxiety for patients and
staff. Previously the Trust has been the only NHS Trust in the South
West to have set a key performance indicator (KPI) for responding to
PALS and monitoring of responding to concerns within 25 working days.
31.2 The statutory 25 working day complaint response target remains in place
during the parallel running „Making Experiences Count‟ pilot. This
provides compliance with the NHS Regulations for complaints handling.
The deadline can be negotiated with a complainant for an extension
compliance date for complex complaints.
31.3 Table 14 shows compliance figure of 98% has been achieved for this
period for the combined 168 complaints and PALS.
Reporting Period Numbers of Numbers of Numbers of Percentage
combined combined combined
complaints/PALS complaints/PALS complaints/PALS
finalised within timescale outside timescale
1 April – 30 June 2008 168 164 4 98%
Totals 168 164 4 98%
32. Healthcare Commission
32.1 Nil requests for an independent review were received during this period.
32.2 During the period the Trust received the outcome of two independent
reviews undertaken by the Healthcare Commission. Both of these
complaints were received and responded to during the financial year
2007/2008 before local resolution was implemented as the preferred
method of managing complainants concerns.
32.3 Both complaints were upheld by the Healthcare Commission. The
recommendations have been reviewed and action plans have been
generated to address the recommendations. This work is currently
33.1 Nil for this period (Year to date – Nil)
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34.1 Table 15 shows of the 153 combined complaints and PALS finalised
during this period, 48 (32%) were not upheld. It further illustrates the
outcomes by subject groups.
External Unknown Total
Not Part No Action Action
Subject Groups Upheld Upheld Upheld required
A&E Activity 25 7 11 39 2 9 93
Clinical 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Control 2 1 0 4 0 0 7
Human Resources 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Urgent Care Service 6 3 5 4 0 0 18
PTS 5 3 3 22 2 0 35
Minor Injury Unit 0 0 0 1 0 0 1
Other NHS Trusts 0 0 0 1 11 0 12
Total 38 14 19 73 15 9 168
34.2 Table 16 below shows the % of complaints and PALS that were upheld,
not upheld, partially upheld, and those that required either no action or
external action by another NHS Trust or organisation.
Outcomes of Complaints/PALS
1 July - 30 Sept 2008
External Action Not Upheld
No Action Required Part Upheld
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35.1 The Board is asked to note the contents of this quarterly patient
experience assurance report of the Trust‟s work to continually report and
improve the patient experience and uphold the positive reputation it enjoys
across the South West and beyond.
Head of Strategic Communication & PR (Chief Executive Directorate)
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