Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion?

Andrew Lansley said: “Patients must have more say and more choice.” Patient Opinion succeeds in giving them more say; the only question is: will the government listen?

Rob Macpherson researched and co-authored the ‘In their words: What patients think about our NHS’ report; he blogs here in a personal capacity

From GPs to nurses, health experts to hospital managers; we’ve heard the concerns of almost every NHS stakeholder group except the one that matters most – patients. The extent of the NHS reforms were nowhere to be found in the Conservative manifesto coalition agreement. If the changes are to be thrust upon the public now, then patients need to be asked what they want improved.

A report titled ‘In their words: What patients think of the NHS’,  released last week by NHS feedback website Patient Opinion, did just that. They took more than 11,000 accounts of healthcare experiences posted on the site over the past five years and focused on the most critical negative postings to find where patients felt the NHS needs to improve.


The results highlight a gulf between Andrew Lansley’s rhetoric and the opinions of everyday patients. The main thrust of the healthcare reforms focus on providing choice to patients.

Lansley said:

“We want to go further than simply offering people a choice of hospital. Patients should have choice at every stage of the journey – where they register with a GP, where they go for tests, who they see for treatment, and what care or treatment they receive from any willing provider.”

However, figures from the Patient Opinion report show that only three per cent of patients who posted a negative story perceived ‘choice of provider’ as a problem with their care experience.

Instead the report showed staff attitudes as the biggest criticism, with one in three patients in the sample perceiving a problem. The findings raise further questions over the need for such expansive top-down reforms when patients’ satisfaction relies heavily on personable factors that staff can remedy with no restructuring and minimal financial investment.

Lansley said:

“Patients must have more say and more choice.”

Patient Opinion succeeds in giving them more say; the only question is: will the government listen?

Want to share your NHS experience or compare account from other patients who were treated at your local hospital? Visit www.patientopinion.org.uk

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