The RUH in Bath joined forces with creative arts company Unique Voice on a project which aims to improve the way complaints are handled and resolved at the hospital’s trust.
Drawing upon the personal, real-life experiences of staff and patients who have been through the complaints process, Unique Voice, in conjunction with the Patient Experience team at the RUH, produced an original drama which was performed to an audience of over 200 RUH staff on Friday 13 February.
Theresa Hegarty, Head of Patient Experience at the RUH said: “This moving and personal performance was extremely well-received – both by staff at the hospital and by the patients, families and carers who were involved extensively in workshops and who came along to watch.
“I hope the play clarified the importance of working towards an improved complaints process at the Trust and served to capture the hearts and minds of those watching.
“At the centre of each and every complaint is an individual, and an effective policy on paper is worth nothing without the empathy and compassion of the staff who implement it.”
A couple who had gone through the complaints process themselves, and had been unhappy with how the complaint had been handled, attended the event.
After the performance, the patient’s partner spoke movingly to the audience about his own experience.
He said: “It is vitally important that all parties involved in a complaint are kept informed throughout the process. The emphasis should not be on the person who has made the complaint to chase; the onus should be on the organisation to keep the complainant well informed.
“It doesn’t matter how long it takes – so long as the lines of communication are kept open throughout. Continuity is also an important issue; it’s exhausting and distressing to have to keep explaining your situation to new people.
“Having been personally involved in the workshops, I feel the efforts of the last twelve months will help to produce a robust system for handling complaints – but I also hope the system can nail some of the issues that are leading to complaints in the first place.”
The performance was part of the Trust’s See it My Way series of events, designed to help staff view important and challenging issues from the perspective of patients and carers.