Patient-centred care has long been an ambition of health reform. However international comparisons have consistently shown that the NHS has performed poorly on scores of patient experience and responsiveness. This seminar explored how true patient-centred care can become a reality.in the NHS.
NHS England has made improving patients’ experience of care a key priority and in recent years there have been a number of initiatives to make the NHS more customer focused. A number of providers are adopting techniques commonly used in the private sector to improve customer service. Reforms to make the system more decentralised and expand choice and competition will mean that providers respond to patient expectations and put the customer first..
However improving the customer experience cannot simply become a bolt on to existing NHS services. The NHS needs to empower patients as consumers of healthcare and not simply make the NHS more customer aware. While providers have started to adopt tools to harness patient voice and make services more customer friendly unless there is widespread cultural change in the service these improvements will only have limited benefit.