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King’s Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital pledges to improve patient communication

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Even more effort is being made to ensure patients at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital get information in the way that works best for them.

It commissioned Healthwatch Norfolk to assess the ways it does this and see what improvements could be made.

The study gathered data from a mix of surveys and focus groups with patients and staff and came up with several recommendations.

QEH entrance.
QEH entrance.

These were:

• Record the way people prefer to be communicated with in both their digital and hardcopy notes;

• Use less jargon whether talking to patients in person, by phone or letter;

QEH pledges to work harder on patient communication.
QEH pledges to work harder on patient communication.

• Work with patient and user groups to develop a template letter which will make communications easier to read and understand;

• Share information in as many ways as possible including email, and use text messages for young people;

• Let people know what happens as a result of any feedback the hospital receives;

• Carry out more work with staff to ensure their feedback is considered when planning communication.

A total of 335 people took part in the survey which included staff, and people who took part in focus groups which were organised in partnership with Scope and Vision Norfolk. Around a quarter of the responses were also gathered from College of West Anglia students to help ensure a wide age-range of people contributed.

Questions were focused on how the hospital should communicate with people about their health, the hospital itself, and how they could be involved in making changes.

Alex Stewart, chief executive of Healthwatch Norfolk, said: “This project was a great opportunity for us to work with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“Making sure people are communicated with in the best way for them with no jargon is a request we hear a lot from patients and is a focus of our work locally and nationally at the moment, and we will be keeping in touch with the QEH as it takes these recommendations on board.

“It was also particularly useful to work with the College of West Anglia and its students on this study. As the way we communicate evolves and more methods emerge to do so, it was important to make sure their views were taken into account.”

Chief nurse at QEH, Alice Webster said: “We would like to thank Healthwatch Norfolk, and the patients and staff who participated in this important piece of work.

“We’re always keen to learn from the findings of a survey such as this, which gives valuable insight into the views and experiences of our patients and wider community.

“We will be using the comments and learnings from the report to influence our future communications with patients and local community to ensure they reflect the varied ways they would prefer to be communicated with and to ensure we use language that is accessible to all.”

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