18 August 2015
An adverse comment placed on a website, be it NHS Choices or the practice’s own website can be upsetting, especially as it sits in the public domain for anyone to see.
With regard to an adverse post left on NHS Choices, the website does have the advantage of allowing the practice to post a response. Whilst there is no requirement to respond to posts on this website and indeed it would be inappropriate to respond to a complaint in this way, it is advisable that a practice responds to such posts with a simple acknowledgment of the comments made and an invitation to the patient to make contact with a named person to discuss their concerns directly. This reassures both the patient who made the post and any other patients, potential patients and any others reading it that the practice takes patient feedback seriously and is keen to learn from patient experiences and to improve the service they offer. A suggested response is:
I am sorry to read your comments posted on the website on [date] and to learn that you are unhappy with the service you received from the practice.
We value patient feedback and welcome the opportunity to investigate and respond to any concerns. I would invite you to contact [named person] so we can fully investigate your concerns.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Many practices have protocols for routinely reviewing posts left on NHS Choices and see them as an opportunity to improve services. Some practitioners also wish to thank those who have left positive feedback.
A similar approach could be taken to comments placed on practice owned websites which have facilities for this, and sites such as Facebook. Practitioners could also consider inviting satisfied patients to leave positive reviews. These may be helpful in themselves and can also have the effect of balancing out and indeed outweighing any negative comments.