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NHS services should be more patient-focused, says NHS Institute

24 February 2009

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The NHS should move from a service that does things to and for its patients to one that works with patients to support their needs better, according to the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

The Institute has launched the “experience-based design (ebd) approach”, a new guide that aims to show staff how they can work more effectively with patients to understand their needs and use this understanding to redesign services.

The NHS Institute led pilot schemes across the country to develop the guide. At each of the test sites, patients, carers and staff looked at their own experiences throughout the treatment and care journey and worked together to make improvements.

This resulted in the “ebd approach”, which works by encouraging and supporting patients and staff to tell their stories. The focus is on capturing and understanding patients’ experiences of receiving care and the staff experience of delivering care, rather than feedback of the technical process.

Lynne Maher, Head of Innovation Practice at the NHS Institute, said: “If NHS services are to improve, it’s essential that staff start thinking about how to meaningfully involve patients.

”Feedback from our pilot sites has been overwhelmingly positive. Finding out how patients feel about the service has helped them to make huge differences to patient care: improving patient safety, patient experience and even reducing unnecessary costs.”

Hugh McGrath, a patient from one of the test sites who worked with staff to make changes, said: “I’m immensely grateful to the staff for involving patients and asking us how we feel about the service we receive. The staff helped us to reflect on how we felt and used that to make important improvements.”

The ebd approach guide and tools are aimed at both frontline and managerial staff in the NHS and are available free to all NHS staff.

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement