Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Yesterday I attended an NHS Customer Care training session, as a Patient Ambassador with the Patient's Association. To open the session, we talked about experiences of customer care, good and bad. One example was brought up about the speed at which supermarket cashiers throw items down the belt at Tesco's and other large chains. This leaves the customer unable to pack as quickly as the items are arriving at the packing end - frustrating! One person in our group said that they had to do this to reach their targets - a relation of theirs worked in a supermarket and has to meet targets of time spent scanning items/dealing with each customer.

This relates to service in the NHS, an organisation all too familiar with targets. Targets can be introduced with the best will in the world and with the ultimate aim of improving patient/customer experience, but in trying to meet them patient experience can be detrimentally affected. Many targets are very rational, but the reality of efforts to achieve them can often seem ludicrous in specific cases.

Staff could explain some of their actions which may seem ridiculous to patients in terms of their targets. This may help confused patients to place difficult-to-comprehend actions into a wider picture of improving quality!

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