NHS England’s patient feedback service Care Connect is not in use anywhere in the country, more than a year after pilots were completed.
Care Connect was due to be rolled out across England by February 2014, but following the end of the pilots early last year, the service is no longer being used.
Built by mySociety using open source architecture, the multi-channel service was piloted in 22 trusts in London and the North of England starting in July 2013.
It allowed patients to go online, ring a telephone number, text or use social media to log concerns that need resolving, ask a question or provide feedback on their experiences. Feedback was to be published online and where necessary, passed on to providers to respond.
One trust that participated in the six-month pilot told Digital Health News only two patients gave feedback using Care Connect over that time and this did not even relate to the trust.
The plan was that the service would become part of the new NHS Choices, previously called the integrated customer service platform and now rebranded as NHS.uk.
It was key to NHS England’s aim to: “ensure that all NHS funded patients will have the opportunity to leave feedback in real time on any service by 2015”, as outlined in the document, Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013/14.
Jane Barnacle, NHS England’s London regional director for patients and information, told Digital Health News in July 2013 that the plan was to roll-out the service to all trusts by the end of February 2014. The pilots would be used to assess the demand from patients and resources needed to meet that.
In a statement to Digital Health News this month, Barnacle said the pilots ended in early 2014. There are no current plans for a national roll-out.
“As we evaluate our findings, we have learnt a great deal from studying the data we have gathered,” she said.
“This knowledge has allowed us to develop our thinking further as we move forward with our long term plans.
“Our findings have proved to be very valuable and the next step is for us to now to feed this into the new models of care.”
A spokesperson from St George’s University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said it exited the pilot in February.
"Two patients gave feedback to the trust using Care Connect. However, this was not related to St George’s," the spokesperson said.
“The trust encourages patients to talk to senior staff if they have a problem and we operate a ‘Don’t take your troubles home’ system whereby posters are displayed with the photographs and names of senior staff.".
A spokesman for Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust said the service was not widely used by patients during the six-month pilot and did not replace the trust's existing systems for patient feedback.