Complaining made easy

By Abhijeet Ahluwalia

An innovative electronic patient feedback system is being piloted by Lewisham hospitals in an effort to improve services and drive up standards.

The pilot project supplies patients with handheld devices called Patient Experience Trackers (PETs), slightly bigger than a palmtop computer, which allows patients to give feedback anonymously.


The PETs allow hospitals and trusts to gather feedback easily on a day-to-day basis, collated and analysed independently. The service has been successfully employed in a number of hospitals across the country.

However, under the current pilot project PETs will only be used to gather feedback from nursing and speech therapy. The project runs until 2011, when PETs will be introduced into other services as well.

Joan Walsh, policy, research and campaign manager at health research group the Picker Institute, described PETs as “a valuable source of useful information and feedback from patients. No single method is perfect obviously, but we use PETs ourselves.”

(Photo credit:


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