People using adult social care services in Scotland will have the opportunity to share and compare their experiences when a new website, Care Opinion, launches this autumn.
The one-year pilot will enable social care users, and their families, to give public feedback on their care and share their stories with others.
The independent website will complement the existing Patient Opinion website, currently used by hundreds of people a year to comment on their experiences in hospitals across the country.
Care providers registered with the site will be able to respond directly to users and use their feedback to make changes to services.
The initial pilot will cover adult care providers in two health board areas, with a view to rolling out the service nationwide at the end of the one-year trial.
Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “I’ve been very clear that we must continue to drive improvements in the quality and standard of care in social care settings - for example in public and private care homes and in the provision of care at home services. The launch of Care Opinion will provide a platform for improvements driven directly by feedback from patients and their families.
“However, as we have seen with Patient Opinion, nearly half of the people commenting on the website are simply saying ‘Thank You’ to the staff who have looked after them. This is intended to be a constructive process that will help form part of a much bigger picture of improved scrutiny and better access to information, allowing people to make informed choices about their care.
“This is particularly important as we continue to prepare for the full integration of health and social care services next year. With both health boards and local authorities now jointly responsible for ensuring patients’ needs are met throughout the transition from hospital into care services, this website will put the onus on both organisations to put the patient first.”
Ian Welsh, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) said: “The ALLIANCE is delighted to be working with Patient Opinion and the Scottish Government to pilot the use of an open and transparent online process for capturing constructive comment on social care services, building on the success of the Patient Opinion model.
“Ensuring that services listen to, and learn from, the voice of people who use social care support and services will play a vital role in extending citizen voice and is critical to driving improvements in care services across Scotland with people at the centre.”
Gina Alexander, Director, Patient Opinion said: “The commitment to this pilot demonstrates that Scotland is leading the way in harnessing the power of the web to enable the public to influence health and social care services in new, open and transparent ways. We are really excited about taking this work forward in partnership with The ALLIANCE, the Scottish Government and the people of Scotland.”
The Care Opinion site is located here: www.careopinion.org.uk