FOR the very first time at the Great Western Hospital, patients and carers will be invited to express their views, raise concerns or shine the light on outstanding examples of care across its wards and community services at a focus event.

As part of a drive to gather more feedback and place patients at the heart of healthcare, GWH bosses will hold an event on June 2 asking members of the public to talk through some of their issues and share both their positive and negative experiences of care at the hospital.

GWH already collates feedback and information through various means including the Friend and Family Test, which sees 2,000 patients and carers comment on anything from the quality of food to the standard of care received.

The event is organised in collaboration with Healthwatch Swindon.

Hilary Walker, chief nurse, said: “This is your chance to tell us what we do well and what we need to improve, so come along and share your experiences with us.

“It could be about the care you’ve received, how staff treated you, how you were greeted at reception, how you were involved in your care, how you were kept informed, how you found the facilities at the hospital or anything else which was important to you.

“I want to get a clear picture of what it feels like to be a patient or visitor at our hospital.”

Guests will sit in groups around a table with either a member of GWH’s care, communications or complaints service teams or a Healthwatch Swindon volunteer.

GWH director of strategy Kevin Mcnamara said working in partnership with Healthwatch, an organisation set up to champion patients’ views and scrutinise health in the town, was the ideal way to approach a new section of the population.

“We wanted to work with Healthwatch Swindon, who are the voice of patients, to reach out to more people,” he said.

“We have the Friends and Family Test and get about 2,000 comments a month from it which is really good feedback but we wanted to provide more opportunities for people to share their feedback and experience and hear directly from them.

“The only way we can develop services and improve them is if we know what matters to patients.

“We can sit here and make assumptions but sometimes these assumptions are wrong.

“We also want to find out about people’s positive experience as well as issues.

“If we shine the light on areas of good practice we can apply it elsewhere.”