Comments Cards

Making cards and postboxes available for service users to communicate with the organisation is an easy and economical way to obtain feedback.

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How to do it

Preparation

  • Boxes, with pens/pencils attached, and a supply of pre-printed cards should be placed in locations where many people are likely to pass, but where there is also a degree of privacy.

Developing

  • There should be a sign nearby, drawing attention to each box and explaining when the box will be emptied and how/when the comments received will be responded to.

Planning

  • The organisation must decide whether anonymous submissions will be accepted, and the policy on this should be made clear on the box. It should be explained that although all feedback will be considered, responses can only be provided to people who are willing to give their name and contact details.

Maintenance

  • Boxes must be maintained and emptied.
  • Supplies of cards and pens/pencils must be checked and replaced regularly.
  • Comments must be referred to the correct staff.
  • All comments with contact details should receive a reply, which should explain what action is being taken.

Pros

  • This is an easy way for service users to make an input.

Cons

  • 'Maintenance' is vital but has staff time implications.

Resources

  • Box and stationery
  • Staff time

Top Tips

  • The maintenance process is most likely to be successful if it is handled by a single member of staff at each location.
  • Care should be taken to ensure confidentiality for people who make comments.
  • Changes made as a result should be publicised to demonstrate that the organisation is committed to listening.
  • Consider how this can be made accessible to people who may not be able to access written information, for example cards in a range of community languages, or the option of taping or video recording comments.

Sources and further information

  • NHS Tayside uses real-time feedback to capture patients' experience and respond by making improvements. This involves patients being provided with a short "How Are We Doing?" questionnaire during their episode of care. The questionnaires are used by a wide range of clinical services including outpatient clinics, wards and community services. Each of the services displays on patient noticeboards the feedback received and the actions they are going to take as a result.
  • For more information please contact Tracey Passway, Clinical Governance Co-ordinator, NHS Tayside, 01382 420095.