Care Opinion is an independent not-for-profit website, which adds a real-time dimension to the mix of ways in which people can provide feedback about their experience of care. It is intended to complement NHS Boards’ own processes for encouraging feedback and dealing with concerns and complaints.
Care Opinion provides a safe, anonymous route through which people can feedback about their experience of care and engage in constructive dialogue with services about how things can be improved. It also provides an important route through which NHS staff can hear how their work has been valued and appreciated by members of the public. Above all, Care Opinion has created a space for kind, compassionate connections between people who receive care and support and the people who provide it.
As well as being an innovative digital platform for collecting user stories, Care Opinion is also focused on accessibility. When you add feedback, you can write things down using the prompts on screen or use the in-built picture collection to tell your story and rate experiences using images. This can help people express themselves more easily, especially if they are less able to write. The Care Opinion site can be altered to change the colours and improve contrast between text and background, and the font size can be increased to make reading easier for people with a visual impairment. The site can be translated into a wide variety of languages, and there is information provided in British Sign Language and Irish Sign Language.
Collecting people’s stories
With more than 27,000 experiences now recorded on the site, it has become a rich source of knowledge about how people in Scotland are feeling about their NHS, what is working well and what could be improved. The stories on Care Opinion about services provided by the NHS in Scotland have been read over 14 million times.
There were 4,696 members of the public who shared their stories, about healthcare services in Scotland, on Care Opinion in 2021/22. This is the highest number shared in any year since the service began and these stories received more than 5,600 responses from NHS staff. Care Opinion and the Scottish Government continue to encourage the staff who provide the care which has been written about to respond directly, helping us to develop a genuinely person-centred culture of continuous improvement in our health and care services.
The online feedback service contributes towards the Scottish Government’s active support for a culture of openness and transparency in NHS Scotland that welcomes all types of feedback and uses it to inform and drive improvement. The Scottish Government has supported the roll out of Care Opinion across NHS Scotland since 2013.
If you would like to share your own experience of NHS healthcare, or on behalf of someone you know, please visit Care Opinion
Informing the Scottish Government’s cancer policies
I caught up with Debbie from the cancer policy team to find out their approach to engagement and how they make use of the insights available on Care Opinion to influence the decisions they make.
“In cancer policy, like many other areas of healthcare, we really value patient and public insight. We are working towards ensuring that the voices and experiences of people affected by cancer are at the heart of policy and that meaningful involvement is embedded through inclusive practices and ongoing engagement. One of the ways we do this is by offering a range of opportunities to participate and by optimising our use of existing sources of experience, such as Care Opinion.
On a monthly basis we review Care Opinion for stories relating to cancer care. We consider all feedback and review the emerging themes and how they align with our policies and work streams. We then use this data to better understand our potential impact and where changes may be required. Feedback from Care Opinion is one level of our engagement, additionally we seek out patient experience and review published study results from our partners like third sector organisations.
To help inform other decision makers, we also share feedback gathered from Care Opinion with members of the National Cancer Recovery Group and more recently, the Scottish Cancer Coalition.
To better understand the views and experiences of those affected by cancer in Scotland we would like to promote the use of Care Opinion amongst the general population. We ask that those in a position to do so encourage patients to use the site to share their story.”
Care Opinion’s spring conference “Helping care get better: Online public feedback for learning and change” takes place on 28 April 2022 and is open for registration now. You can also follow their work on the Care Opinion Scotland blog.
Scottish Government participation and engagement
Interested in receiving updates and insights into our work to embed good participation and engagement practices across the Scottish Government? Subscribe to the Scottish Government’s participation blog and follow us on twitter @scotgovengage