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

25 Responses to “Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion?”

  1. Andy Bean

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  2. Mancunian Candidate

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  3. michael john day

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm – THEN IGNORE IT!

  4. ICS

    Will Lansley listen to @patientopinion ? http://bit.ly/gRU98L

  5. The Great Transition

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm <he prefers to listen to big business…http://bit.ly/9xPZWY&gt;

  6. patientopinion

    Thoughtful blog from @leftfootfwd, wondering what political fallout can be expected as a result of our recent report http://bit.ly/gRU98L

  7. Northern TUC

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  8. Lauren G

    Lansley is a liar or an idiot – now in convenient graph form! With pretty colours and everything! http://goo.gl/mLyOK #welovethenhs

  9. Deb

    RT @geeoharee: Lansley is a liar or an idiot – now in convenient graph form! With pretty colours and everything! http://goo.gl/mLyOK #we …

  10. nhsdirectaction

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  11. Kelvin John Edge

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  12. matthewhoulihan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  13. Simon

    Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/fTbFnh

  14. Watching You

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  15. JulianaFarha

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm >>Will Lansley listen to anything?

  16. Alex Smith

    RT @leftfootfwd: Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/igFxMm

  17. Mister Jabberwock

    Firstly that is a very poor way of presenting data graphically – pretty though it may look.

    But you just don’t get it. People don’t complain about the choice of providers (something they don’t experience) they complain about things like staff attitude and responsiveness (which they do experience).

    BUT the way to fix those bad experiences is to bring in alternative providers so that the ones that have staff with better attitudes and are more responsive can be chosen.

    What is so difficult to understand about that.

  18. scandalousbill

    Mister Jabberwock,

    You say:

    “But you just don’t get it. People don’t complain about the choice of providers (something they don’t experience) they complain about things like staff attitude and responsiveness (which they do experience).”

    BUT the way to fix those bad experiences is to bring in alternative providers so that the ones that have staff with better attitudes and are more responsive can be chosen.”

    Do you seriously believe that the patient experience will figure at all in the selection criterion to bring in privatization of the NHS? It would seem that the so called value for money mantra touted by the Tory led coalition is cheaper, not better. If you look at the cases of private care provided to the aged and disabled, it is hard to see that much quality of service improvements have been provided by the private sector is as bad, and in most cases worse, than current provisions.

  19. Stephen W

    It’s just not true that the NHS changes were nowhere in the Conservative and Lib Dem manifestos. GP commissioning, all hospitals becoming foundations, abolition of PCT’s were all in the manifestos.

    By all means claim that the changes are a bad idea if you want to. But it’s not true to claim they weren’t in the manifesto.

  20. Editor

    @Stephen W,

    thank you for your comment. We have now amended the piece as appropriate.

  21. Stephen W

    Still not correct. I can’t find the source of the abolition of PCT’s. But GP commissioning and opening up the NHS to voluntary, private and social-enterprise sectors, and other changes are all in the Coalition agreement.

    Admittedly there’s also the promise to end top-down reorganisation of the NHS, which is confusing and arguably contradictory with these aims, but still, these changes are mostly there.

    Did anyone actually do some research before writing this article?

  22. Kevin Copp

    RT @instituteofcs: Will Lansley listen to @patientopinion ? http://bit.ly/gRU98L

  23. Mr. Sensible

    Stephen W, the fact is that these reforms were not in the Coalition agreement; even as late as the Queens’ Speech, David Cameron was proposing elected PCTs, rather than their abolition.

    On the substance of this, I am not opposed to the independent and voluntary sectors working alongside the NHS per say; the previous government used it, and I think it can work, but this kind of top-down reorganization (as has been said, contrary to the promice to end these), is exactly what the NHS doesn’t need given that the credibility of the Coalition’s pledge to protect the NHS is being called in to question.

    I think there is evidence from a recent opinion poll to suggest that the public don’t want this, doctors and nurses don’t like it, some Lib Dems don’t like it, and so the government needs to go completely back to the drawing board.

  24. Henry

    I wonder who these changes are supposed to benefit. Or is it just another ideological policy rather like the attempted forest sell-off?

  25. Simon

    Will Lansley listen to Patient Opinion? http://bit.ly/fTbFnh

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