Letters Tell us how it was for you

Whose role is it to collect patients’ stories?

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7332 (Published 09 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7332
  1. Felix Greaves, Harkness fellow1
  1. 1Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA
  1. felixgreaves{at}gmail.com

Richards persuasively discusses the power of patient narratives in allowing health systems to learn and improve, highlighting how an independent not-for-profit company, Patient Opinion, does this in the NHS.1

At the same time, Patient Opinion is having to respond to NHS England’s launch of a new government funded entity, Care Connect, which aims to perform a similar function.2

NHS England has talked about working with entrepreneurs and the vital role they have in fostering innovation and cost savings in the NHS.3 Yet Patient Opinion sees its existence threatened by this “look alike” funded by the taxpayer.4

If the NHS is short of money, why is NHS England attempting to duplicate one of the few areas where others are already performing the function well? In addition, there are arguments for using an independent platform for patient feedback systems, including a reduced perceived fear of reprisal for speaking out about care.

Why does NHS England seek to reinvent the wheel, rather than building on the success of existing organisations? Perhaps the role of NHS England should be to consolidate the experiences of patients captured across many platforms, rather than seeking to control the process.


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7332


  • Competing interests: I research feedback systems for healthcare and have worked with Patient Opinion, NHS England, and NHS Choices. My work has received funding from NHS Choices.


View Abstract

Sign in

Log in through your institution

Free trial

Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial