We all know how much we value good customer service – whether we’ve gone out for a meal in a restaurant or whether we need to get an emergency plumber out at the weekend and how our impressions can have a lasting effect on our opinion of that company. It should therefore be no surprise that our patients feel the same when they spend time on our wards and we must ensure that they experience an excellent service from all of our staff who they come in contact with. With this in mind the Mental Health Division took the opportunity to use patient feedback to develop an initiative to provide some focused customer service training that would mean our wards would be in a better position to enhance the overall patient and carer experience.
The design of this “people focused” initiatives was led by Karen Sinclair (Project Manager), with the training delivered by an external trainer, Julia Dionian. A specific workshop was devised for our ward staff, focusing on staff attitudes, communication skills, verbal and non-verbal communication and the power of positive language using ‘patient, carer and staff’ case studies to draw out the different customer service expectations. We also had a patient who, following a stay on an inpatient ward was involved in helping to design the case studies which provided us the opportunity to showcase some genuine experiences of our patients.
So far we have run 33 sessions and to date have had over 350 staff members from 13 wards attend. Staff feedback has been really positive and I would like to extend my thanks to Julia Dionian whose enthusiasm and commitment has made the training days to date such a success. I am delighted to confirm that we have started work to design a programme for the Community Teams to receive the training. It is hoped that these workshops will be able to start in the Autumn of 2012.
Comments from staff attending included:
“How we acknowledge and welcome patients and carers makes a difference”
“It was a good reminder of how we can improve quality of care for our patients”
Part of the workshop asked staff to be really honest with us and tell us what they liked about working on the wards, but also what frustrated them, and what stopped them from being able to deliver excellent customer service to our patients at all times. All this feedback has been taken very seriously, and an action plan has been put together to address these issues. It is planned to have roadshows taking place across the division, which will allow senior management to work with the teams directly to tackle some of these issues. The expectation being that this is a joint venture with everyone involved from the top down, with the message being clear that it was everyone’s responsibility to create and maintain an environment for excellent customer service.
I would also like to express my thanks to all the staff who have attended and to those who are waiting to attend a future session – I look forward to working with you all soon!
Karen Sinclair, People Initiatives Project Manager, Mental Health Division
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Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of specialist mental health services in five different localities as well as physical healthcare to patients in Oxfordshire.
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