Sir David Nicholson in his foreword to the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2012-13 draws attention to the need to get the basics right every time. The cause of short-comings in dignity and basic care are complex and deep routed, often as much to do with culture and behaviour as with resourcing and prioritisation.
The Operating Framework, work of kidney and other charities, the General Medical Council and the professional societies have a united agenda in putting patients at the centre of decision making. Information and support for patients and carers runs right through the Operating Framework. The experience of patients, service users and their carers should drive everything the NHS has to do.
“Grasping what the figures meant enables us to formulate questions for consultations, to understand explanations and in some cases, since we were first to see the figures in context, to alert consultants to changes as soon as they appeared. There is a sense that the relationship between the patient and the doctor becomes more collaborative as soon as the patient understands the figures before the consultation takes place …. Because of the service, we benefit more from consultations”.
This quote from a renal patient view (RPV) user shows the impact signing up to RPV can have. Writing directly to patients in plain English , rather than merely coping them in on a gobbledegook jargon filled letter to their GP that the GP probably will not understand , can have a similar effect and using the two approaches in combination can really transform kidney care from the 19th to the 21st century.
So it’s no wonder that I have been waiting in anticipation for the RPV statistics to see who is top of the league - not that league position is everything. But I was particularly interested in how my local Salford Royal Foundation Trust team were doing since one of our medical secretaries, Janet Cribbin, took on the task of helping people enrol when they are attending outpatient appointments. Dr Grahame Wood (consultant kidney doctor) has led from the medical side but Janet has been doing the work! Great progress - well done both of them!
Have a look if your unit has RPV available for patients and how it is doing (above). Congratulations to those units doing well and perhaps time for an early new years resolution if you are in a unit in the drop zone to use a football table analogy.
For those who are not on RPV and don’t know the detail it is freely available for every kidney unit and every kidney patient in the United Kingdom and is effectively a “my health space” for people with kidney problems . Dr Amir Hannan (a general practitioner from Tameside) cites it as one of the “jewels in the crown” in his piece “patients need access and understanding of their health records” in the Guardian online. But I will leave the last word to a RPV user -
“We’ve been astonished at the difference in the patient-doctor relationship from what I remember of experiences a long time ago – a world where deference on the part of patients and distance and authority on the part of the doctors coloured the relationship, making it less effective than it should/could be. The website is a very visible statement of a wider change”.