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Health Service Pips Apple in Satisfaction Ratings

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24 Jun 2014

A ratings system used by the NHS as well as corporate giants including Apple, Virgin Media, Samsung, First Direct and Nationwide has revealed that patients are surprisingly more satisfied with their experiences in hospital than they are with the banking and retail outlets. A variant of the Net Promoter Score (NPS); used widely used in business to record whether people would recommend a service to a friend or family; has recently been incorporated by the NHS as part of their overall Patient-Reported Outcome Measures, at the Prime Minister’s behest. The findings in the areas of orthopaedic surgery - particularly total knee replacement and total hip replacement - have been revealed in a new study published in the prestigious ‘Bone and Joint Journal’, authored by orthopaedic surgeon and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (www.rcsed.ac.uk), Mr Colin Howie.

In the past, success of NHS treatments has been mainly evaluated straightforward criteria such as ‘lack of complications’. However, the focus has recently shifted towards collating information on how satisfied the patient actually feels after their experience, and how likely they would be to recommend the service to family and friends. The Net Promoter Score survey divides respondents into three categories: promoters, who would recommend the service; passives, who are happy but would not actively promote; and detractors, those who would actively discourage others to use the service. Scores range from -100 (everyone is a detractor), to +100 (everyone is a promoter).

The orthopaedic data, collated over an eight-year period, shows that the Net Promoter Score for total hip replacement scored a staggering 71, which is two points above that of multinational corporation Apple and ten points above First Direct. Knee surgery alone scores five and thirteen points over technology behemoths Sony and Samsung respectively, twenty-three points over motor insurance company AA and thirty-three satisfaction points above Internet provider Virgin media.

The Net Promoter Score was implemented at Prime Minister David Cameron’s suggestion in order to expose unacceptable standards of care following the 2013 Francis Report into the Stafford Hospital scandal. Mr Howie; who is also President-Elect of the British Orthopaedic Association and a member of the NICE Interventional Procedures Advisory, says;

“Mr Cameron was very keen that a high level of service in our hospitals could be delivered. It was surprising to see how well the hard-pressed NHS compared to other best-performing service industries; the public are very happy, not just with their hip and knee operations, but also with the overall service. We have discovered that a key part of achieving a high level of patient satisfaction is that patients are dealt with by the same member of staff.

“The scores are even more remarkable when you consider that the result happened naturally, without large amounts of money being spent on customer-facing training, and that the results were achieved without anyone being forewarned about the survey, which shows that some parts of the NHS are working extremely well.”

Net Promoter Scores for various product/service providers

Total hip replacement 71
Apple iPhone (mobile phone) 69
First Direct (banking) 61
Total knee replacement 49
Sony (technology) 44
Samsung (technology) 36
Nationwide (banking) 33
AA (motor insurance) 26
Direct Line (motor insurance) 20
Blackberry (mobile phone) 18
Virgin media (internet provider) 16
Sky (internet provider) 15
BUPA (health Insurance) 7
Pruhealth (health insurance) -9

According to consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon Ian Ritchie who is President of the RCSEd, Britain’s oldest surgical Royal College;

“Outcome measures have come a long way since Florence Nightingale’s pioneering yet basic monitoring approach of ‘Relieved; Unrelieved; or Died’ – but the success of surgical procedures has been, by and large, historically evaluated via clinical measures. It’s reassuring to know that despite the many challenges we face daily in the provision of healthcare services, nowadays patients are feeling not just physically recuperated but actually rating their experiences as a whole so highly. Considering the massive investments made by some of these well-known businesses into customer service initiatives which the NHS could never match, I’m pleased to know that orthopaedic surgery patients are so overwhelmingly satisfied with the care they receive.”

Established in 1505, and with a worldwide membership, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is one of the world’s oldest and largest surgical establishments dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and advancement in surgical and dental practice, through its activities in education, training and examinations. Last month it opened its first-ever centre of operations in Birmingham, to cater for the 80% of its UK membership based in England and Wales.


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd was first incorporated as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is the oldest surgical corporation in the world with memberships approaching 25,000 professionals in over 100 countries worldwide. The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through its interest in education, training and examinations, its liaison with external medical bodies and representation of the modern surgical and dental workforce. It is also home to the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. Find RCSEd on Twitter www.twitter.com/RCSEd and on Facebook www.facebook.com/rcsed

The College is based at Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW and can be reached on (0)131 527 1600 or mail@rcsed.ac.uk. In March 2014, a new base opened in Birmingham, catering to the 80% of the College’s UK membership who are based in England and Wales.

For all media enquiries please contact the Communications and PR Manager Aoife O'Sullivan on 0131 527 1593 or email comms@rcsed.ac.uk 


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