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How much do you know about our Patient Experience service?

Posted on: 29 July 2022

The GP Care Group’s Patient Experience Team uses a variety of ways to gather the views of service users and carers who receive support from Integrated Community Services in Tower Hamlets. To give our service users a better understanding about how the team gathers your views to help improve our services, we spoke to Patient Experience Lead, Shona Davies who gave an insight into the team’s work. You can read what she said below.

In a nutshell, what is the patient experience team all about? 

The Patient Experience Team seeks the views of patients, informal carers, citizens, service providers, managers and commissioners of services in Tower Hamlets and undertakes whole system reviews of these services.

The team does this by speaking to service users and providers about what they feel is working well, identifying any gaps in provision and what can be improved. In essence, our work is about hearing experiences and stories from both service users and the workforce to better understand issues around navigating support systems and pathways. 

This also includes understanding the challenges of delivering support and bringing all this intelligence together to capture and share the learning and recommendations that emerge. 

In addition to these larger pieces of work, the team also deliver shorter-term one-off feedback by service through interviews with service users and carers on behalf of partners within Tower Hamlets Together.

How many people are in the team? And what type of skills do you need for this work?

The team comprises four part time paid workers and a varying number of volunteers/Discovery Interview team members. The key skills required are exceptional communication and listening skills; the ability to be non-judgmental and suspend any preconceptions about effectiveness or potential solutions, and part of this requires respecting each individual experience and journey, the ability to organise and facilitate group discussion, and strong interpersonal skills. 

Thematic analysis and report writing skills are also essential to bring together the stories and enable recommendations and learning from the work to be clearly presented. Another skill set required is an awareness of some of the issues faced by the local community and available support for onward referral and sign posting as required. 

What research topics has the team covered in the last year? 

Along with other Patient Experience Leads, the team contributed to joint investigations of the experience of Shielding, Digital Exclusion and the impact of the pandemic on mental wellbeing. The major whole systems review undertaken was focused on support available to and experience of informal carers in Tower Hamlets.

 Smaller pieces of work included understanding the pressures of Primary and Urgent Care including the Out of Hours (OOH) Hubs, Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), In-Hours Day Hub, and the Social Prescribing service. The team also spoke to those receiving support from the specialist Community Respiratory service (ARCARE), and the Rehab and Reablement services provided by the LA and East London Foundation Trust. 

How is this information used? And by who? 

Each service-specific report is used for service improvement and/or celebration of what is working well by the providers of those services. Recommendations, learning, and themes resulting from the Whole Systems reviews are shared with the Tower Hamlets Together (our local partnership of local health and social care organisations) and Local Delivery Boards, as well as all stakeholders who contributed to the review, and regular feedback about improvements made as a result of recommendations being implemented help to maintain ongoing engagement with the community.

What are some of the service’s big plans for the next 12 months?

The team has recently begun a whole systems review looking at addiction in Tower Hamlets. In addition to this, the team has been exploring potential work outside the borough and the necessary planning to enable the uptake of such opportunities.

To learn more about the service, visit the Patient Experience page of our website here.