Poor patient and staff satisfaction survey results prompted MMHSCT to commission the Patient Voices Programme to work with service users and carers to develop digital stories around the themes of dignity and respect. The Trust wanted to gain insight (through the stories) into the felt experiences of people receiving care from the Trust. The stories would be incorporated into e-learning materials for staff, shown at Board meetings and used in other ways to increase public awareness about mental health.

In the first of several reflective digital storytelling workshops, five service users and carers created digital stories. Their stories were shown at Board and, when they ran out of stories, we were invited to return to Manchester to create more stories with service users and carers.

That was nearly three years ago. Since then we have facilitated seven more workshops and nearly 60 stories have been created by service users, carers and staff of the Trust. Stories have been shown at every Board meeting and used in staff training and induction; they have been screened publicly in Manchester Triangle, and featured on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme PND mother: ‘I wanted to kill myself’.

The Trust has initiated a number of patient-focused activities and programmes and the transformation resulting from creating and using the stories has been remarkable. Complaints related to communication and care have reduced by 45%. Clinical negligence claims have reduced by 50%. Patient and staff satisfaction scores have risen dramatically.

The Trust has now achieved the highest Care Quality Commission “respect and dignity” scores in England, with an overall quality of care that is good or excellent.

Staff have more time to care for patients because they are not dealing with complaints and the Trust has saved many thousands of pounds in litigation. Most importantly, the Board understands why it exists and has an opportunity each month to focus on a particular story and discuss ways in which it can be assured that poor care will be addressed and good care will become a matter of course.

In Manchester MHSCT dignity, respect, compassion and patient-centred care are now top of the list of priorities and patients and service users are included in decision-making and care-planning.

‘I was genuinely humbled by the courage of one of our digital patient stories at Board this month. ‘Listen, Believe, Act’ told the story of someone who had felt unheard, disbelieved and untreated as she travelled through mental health services from her early teenage years to young adulthood. It was a really moving illustration of just how critical it can be to really listen, to believe what we hear and then to act upon it in good faith.

I recognise that, as a Board, we will need to listen more carefully and more often to our staff. We need to trust and believe the feedback we receive from those on the frontline. And we need to act on that feedback as vital intelligence which will help us all to do a better job, whatever our role in the organisation. We are all in it together, after all.’

Michelle Moran, CEO

CEO Blog – 5th March 2014: Listen, Believe, Act.


Stories from Manchester can be seen here:

Dignity and Respect

Working Together