Developing audiology services based on patient feedback

The following case study looks at the action taken by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) to develop and improve audiology services in response to patient feedback.

Reason action was taken 

As noted in our take the right actions page, one of the key ways to reduce health inequalities is by providing quality services with the allocation of resources proportionate to need.

Creating services and systems that don’t properly take patient needs into account is not only potentially breaking the law (as per legislation such as the Equality Act 2010), it’s also wasteful of resources.

NHSGGC performed a survey with people who used their audiology services and it returned high satisfaction rates in areas such as

  • information provision
  • waiting times for appointments
  • further sources of support.

However, the results from engagement events (individuals and third sector organisations) were different and people expressed their discontent with services. It was agreed that further work was needed to get a better understanding of the patient experiences in audiology and use these findings to improve services.

Action taken

Questionnaires

A new survey for patients across all eight of NHSGGC’s audiology sites was conducted. 800 questionnaires were spread evenly across each audiology site. Each questionnaire contained 26 questions based on the Quality Standards for Adult Hearing Rehabilitation Services (external site)

The main areas of need highlighted by the results were

  • development of a better system of co-production of service development
  • development of a better system of gathering and utilising patient feedback
  • reduction in the lack of information/inconsistency of information given to patients
  • removal of the inconsistency in the approach to services and practice across the eight NHSGGC audiology sites.

Audiology Patient Reference Group

An Audiology Patient Reference Group was established to meet on a quarterly basis with contact in between meetings via email and telephone. Audiology staff within NHSGCC attend by invitation, including the Head of Service. Equality & Human Rights team staff acted as a liaison between patients and staff.

Individual group members brought expertise from the organisations they are connected with such as

  • Deaf Connections
  • Deaf Scotland
  • Renfrewshire Hard of Hearing Support Group.

Regular patient feedback

A regular patient feedback system (leaflets) was also established across the audiology sites and analysis of this feedback was taken to the group and issues discussed.

People who helped

There was a strong partnership in NHSGGC between

  • the Equality & Human Rights team
  • audiology leads and the head of service
  • third sector organisations
  • patients of NHSGGC's audiology services.

Impact and lessons learned

Audits

The NHSGGC audiology service undertook an audit of their information stock and developed a new approach to the provision of patient information. This is to be rolled out across all sites.

Using a portfolio approach, patients will receive leaflets which on things such as hearing aid care and also relating to their circumstances. This will be backed up by the development of a new audiology website.

Walk-rounds involving group members will also take place across all audiology sites. All findings will be fed back to the service via the group, further adding to service development.

Ongoing work by the Audiology Patient Reference Group

Ensuring that audiology services remain responsive to patient concerns and open to potential developments based upon these concerns is not a time limited project. It’s an ongoing process and the Audiology Patient Reference Group will continue to operate and feed into service development, taking advantage of new opportunities wherever possible (such as an expansion of membership and development of feedback methods). Methods are currently being developed which will look at proactive recruitment. This will include awareness-raising visits to relevant community and support groups.

Further information

You can find out more about ways to reduce health inequalities within our reducing health inequalities section.

This case study is based on information provided by Jackie Fairweather from the Equality & Human Rights team within NHSGGC. If you would like to discuss further, you can contact our Health Promoting Health Service (HPHS) team by email at nhs.HealthScotland-hphsadmin@nhs.net.