Scotland introduces patient empathy surveys to improve care

Patients in Scotland are being offered questionnaires to fill out after consultations about how good their GP or nurse was.

Ms Sturgeon: Survey will encourage GPs and nurses to empathise with their patients
Ms Sturgeon: Survey will encourage GPs and nurses to empathise with their patients

The 10 questions include: ‘How was the doctor/nurse at really listening?'

Completed questionnaires are returned to healthcare professionals to help encourage consideration of their skills in empathising with patients, which may improve the quality of service offered.

Over the coming months all NHS boards will be expected to identify steps they can take to improve the quality of care they give.

The CARE (Consultational and Relational Empathy) questionnaire was developed by Professor Stewart Mercer, of Glasgow University. It is an approach which will now be considered for wider use throughout the NHS.

Scotland's health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: ‘For staff, it gives them the opportunity to do the things that matter to them - provide care which is empathetic, compassionate and clinically excellent.'

The questions allow patients to rate GPs/nurses either poor, fair, good, very good, excellent or does not apply.

Other questions are: How was the doctor at ...

  • Making you feel at ease,
  • Letting you tell your story,
  • Really listening,
  • Being interested in you as a whole person,
  • Fully understanding your concerns,
  • Showing care and compassion,
  • Being positive,
  • Explaining things clearly,
  • Helping you to take control, and,
  • Making a plan of action with you.

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