Department of Health and Social Care
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Put people power into action to improve the NHS, say Phil Hope and Ara Darzi

Put people power into action to improve the NHS, say Phil Hope and Ara Darzi

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service. 4 December 2008

Patients are being urged to put people power into action from today by rating the service they receive in hospitals using a new tool on the NHS website.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope and Health Minister Lord Ara Darzi saw the service in action at the Royal Marsden Hospital today.

The NHS Choices website at allows patients to review the services they received in hospital and share their experiences with other patients, empowering patients to directly influence the quality of care they receive.

The five key areas patients are asked to comment on are:

* dignity and respect;

* cleanliness;

* whether doctors and nurses worked well together;

* If patients felt they were involved in decisions around their care; and

* if they would recommend the hospital to friends and family.

As consumers, if we buy an item from eBay, or go to a restaurant, we rightly expect to be able to give feedback on the service received. The NHS should be no different and for something as important as healthcare, patients should make their views known and shout loudly if their care was substandard and equally if it was great.

Lord Darzi said:

"This is a key part in ensuring we have a modern NHS which reflects the needs of patients, the public and staff.

"As announced in the Next Stage Review, in future, more NHS funding will also go to those hospitals and GPs where patients are most positive about their experience. This will act as a strong incentive for everyone to perform to the standards of the best."

One of the five key areas on which patients can rate their hospital is whether they were treated with dignity and respect whist in care. Over the past six months the Dignity in Care campaign has been inspiring and equipping people to drive up care standards and encourage people to become Dignity Champions. Since Dignity Ambassador Sir Michael Parkinson joined the campaign in May this year the number of Dignity Champions across the country has almost tripled to more than 4,000.

Dignity Ambassador Sir Michael Parkinson said:

"What really inspires me about the Dignity in Care campaign is that everyone can get involved - giving feedback on services is one of the main ways that everyone can help promote dignity in care and make a real difference to the way people are treated in hospital. That can mean reporting poor care if we see it, or showing appreciation if we have witnessed someone going that extra mile.

"I hope to use my role as Dignity Ambassador to ensure that dignity is at the heart of all NHS and care services."

Minister of State for Care Services, Phil Hope said:

"Everyone should use the tools at their disposal, such as NHS Choices website, to put pressure on hospitals to provide the best possible care. Services need to know if they are getting it right and what patients found positive about their experience so that this can become part of everyday practice.

"People want and have a right to expect services with dignity and respect at their heart - we should always press for ever higher quality of services."

As part of the 11 MILLION Takeover Day initiative, 2 young people have been shadowing Care Services Minister Phil Hope. The day aims to get young people more actively involved with the organisations that shape their lives, including the NHS, and to encourage adults to value children more.

Ministers heard young people's ideas about the NHS and how it can be improved. The teenagers also showed the Ministers how quick and simple the ratings system on the NHS Choices website is and they all provided feedback on their impressions of the Royal Marsden.

Care Services Minster Phil Hope said:

"Its been great having these two young people spend the morning with us as part of the "takeover day" scheme.

"They've given me a refreshing new outlook on health care services."

Notes to Editors:

To rate your hospital experience, see

NHS Choices is today issuing each Trust in England with a guide on how to make the best use of patient comments, by encouraging as many hospital patients and visitors as possible to leave feedback, and also how to respond online.

For further details on the Dignity in Care campaign, or to sign up to become a Dignity Champion see

Over the past six months, Dignity Ambassador Sir Michael Parkinson and Care Services Minister Phil Hope have been promoting the Dignity Campaign. They met with Dignity Champions and people receiving care and have seen a number of initiatives, such as protected meal times, meaningful activities which help staff provide more personalised care for people with dementia, menus with pictures so that residents can see what they are ordering and curtains around beds which were improved to increase privacy.

The Dignity in Care Campaign aims to inspire and equip people to drive up care standards and encourage people to become Dignity Champions, spreading best practice and giving advice to other health and social care workers. High quality care services that respect people's dignity should:

1. Have a zero tolerance of all forms of abuse

2. Support people with the same respect you would want for yourself or a member of your family

3. Treat each person as an individual by offering a personalised service

4. Enable people to maintain the maximum possible level of independence, choice and control

5. Listen and support people to express their needs and wants

6. Respect people's right to privacy

7. Ensure people feel able to complain without fear of retribution

8. Engage with family members and carers as care partners

9. Assist people to maintain confidence and a positive self esteem

10. Act to alleviate people's loneliness and isolation

For more details on the 11 Million Takeover Day see

Today the Department of Health has published an NHS 60th celebration children's poem written by the Children's Poet Laureate.

11 MILLION Takeover Day has been organised by Sir Al Aynsley-Green, Children's Commissioner for England.