Patient power: giving our patients a voice
16 November 2018
Meet the patients who are helping to transform care at the Royal Free London.
Zoe Greene, her daughter, Rachel, Charlotte Scott and her daughter Alessia are at the heart of a revolution taking place across our specialties.
Their experience is helping to shape the future of our trust’s services, making sure the voices of patients, their families and their carers are heard so we can deliver better care.
Patients are joining together with teams of doctors, nurses, therapists, radiographers and analysts, to design new pathways - the way a patient is treated for a particular health issue - based on best practice and the latest clinical evidence.
These teams, known as clinical practice groups (CPGs), are the glue that binds our hospital group together. Zoe Greene and her 10-year-old daughter, Rachel (pictured above), who has asthma, were interviewed by Adama Kargbo, an asthma specialist nurse. Rachel is a patient at the Royal Free Hospital. She comes in for regular check-ups but on occasion needs to come in as an emergency. The problem is she doesn’t display the classic ‘wheeze’, which means even though her oxygen levels could be dangerously low she might not appear that unwell.
Zoe said: “The problem is Zoe looks okay but she’s not. I don’t want to be the person saying, ‘please can you just check your records’ but that’s who I become.”
Being interviewed gave Zoe the opportunity to explain the issue and how important it was for her to be listened to immediately about the seriousness of Rachel’s situation, instead of spending hours re-establishing the facts.
Zoe is delighted to have helped to improve the ‘wheezy child’ pathway. She said: “What our story shows is that there’s an ambition by the trust to treat the individual. There’s a willingness to change and adapt.”
Adama said: “I didn’t want to speak to someone who would tell us everything we were doing was great, I wanted to speak to someone who perhaps hadn’t always had the best experience. I knew Zoe liked us as a team but would also be very honest with us about where the problems were so we could fix them. Our patients are telling us they’ve noticed a difference. They are being seen quicker and communication with A&E staff has improved.”
CPGs use the latest clinical evidence to ensure all patients have access to the best, and most innovative, treatments the NHS can offer. They deliver the new pathways and give patients a voice within them. The aim is to standardise pathways so that no matter where you get treated at the RFL, you receive the same high standard of care.
Charlotte Scott and seven-month-old Alessia have played their role in the new induction of labour pathway. Charlotte’s labour was induced at Barnet Hospital because she had gone beyond her due date and she was experiencing episodes where Alessia wasn’t moving as much as she should be in the womb.
Charlotte said: “Alessia’s birth ended up actually being quite straightforward and I received excellent care throughout. But being interviewed about my experience of induction I was able to mention that even though I’d been offered two different methods of induction, neither were explained to me, so it was something I ended up researching myself at home. I’ve suggested that providing a proper explanation then and there would give the woman an opportunity to ask questions and potentially result in a more informed decision.”