News, NHS trust

Royal Devon University Healthcare initiates new patient communications policy

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is in the process of developing a new Patient Communications Policy and is seeking patient input to help shape it, through a digital survey which requests feedback on ten proposed communication principles.

The proposed principles include a need to ask all patients about their communication needs, record them electronically and share the information with the right people; support patients to indicate their communication preference and method; enable clear shared decision-making and mechanisms for the patient to respond; and “give due regard” to security, confidentiality and information governance requirements.

In addition, the principles cover the need for patient communication to be person-centred; to use “clear, honest and easy-to-understand language”; to follow ‘TALK’ principles from Communications Access UK (highlighting the importance of giving a person time, asking what helps, listening and keep trying); providing clear information about care and next steps; ensuring inclusivity dependent upon personal circumstances; and acting within expected timeframes.

The survey sets out statements for participants to mark their level of agreement along with the opportunity to provide further comments.

“Good communication is fundamental to good quality care and patient experience. The NHS also has a legal duty to communicate in an accessible and inclusive way,” states Royal Devon. “Our policy will set the trust-wide standards for excellent communication with patients (and by extension with carers, family, and significant others), no matter what a person’s communication need may be. ”

Participants are encouraged to contact the trust by phone or email if they have access needs. The survey can be accessed here.

Last year, we covered the news that Royal Devon went live with their EPR across a number of sites.

In November, we hosted a panel discussion on patient engagement and communication featuring a range of viewpoints including Dr Penny Kechagioglou, chief clinical information officer and deputy chief medical officer at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire; Dr A Raj Kumar, GP, deputy chief medical information officer at NHS England and chair for the NHS Clinical Leaders Network; Nina Crump, primary care digital programme manager for Surrey Heartlands ICS; and John Kosobucki, CEO and founder of Oxford Digital Health. Our panel shared insights on patient-facing tech in their organisations as well as their views on what ‘good’ looks like; catch up here.