60 seconds with Kunle Thomas

11 December 2018

Kunle Thomas, head of patient experience and involvement, BH and CFH

Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?

I lead on patient experience and involvement for both BH and CFH. After working for a national health charity and non-departmental public body for patient and public involvement the next stop was the NHS.  I have been involved in patient experience and involvement at various NHS trusts.

Tell us about your role

Many associate patient experience with just complaints management but that’s only one part. The role includes gathering feedback from patients, their carers and families about our services including compliments, complaints and concerns, comments and surveys, and responding to them as quickly as possible. Most importantly using the feedback to improve services is at the heart of patient experience.

Can you describe an average week?

Patient experience work is remarkably varied from one day to the next.  One day may include reviewing and approving draft responses to complaints in readiness for executive approval or attending internal or external events which provide opportunities to engage with patients and carers.  The next might be spent engaging with staff on the wards or other service areas, and sharing compliments and complaints and concerns or providing training.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Giving patients and carers one less thing to worry about.

What’s the biggest challenge in your job?

Persuading staff who regularly come into contact with patients to try to attempt to resolve any concerns brought to their attention by those patients or their carers rather than telling them how to make a complaint.  The concerns don’t go away simply because we try to avoid them. Instead, they become more time consuming to resolve and may require formal investigations and written responses.

What would be your perfect day away from work?

A winning round of table tennis and tennis.

What can’t you live without?

Humour and laughter and letting my hair down, although letting it down too often caused it all to fall out!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Reading out and cascading compliments from patients to staff, it makes going the extra mile worth all the effort.