'Graffiti boards' and mystery shopper programmes used for patient feedback on maternity services

The King's Fund charity has investigated local methods in the NHS for gaining patient feedback on maternity services.
New maternity graffiti boards

Graffiti boards and mystery shopper programmes are among the innovative ways NHS maternity services in England collect patient feedback, according to a report from The King’s Fund.

New maternity graffiti boards
New maternity graffiti boards will help provide feedback. Picture: iStock

Research by the healthcare charity, including interviews with NHS provider organisations and a literature review, identified local approaches to collecting feedback.

One NHS trust featured in the 'User feedback in maternity services' report uses two large boards, titled ‘Maternity Graffiti’, in a hospital.

These allow patients and their families to write both positive and negative comments, including messages of thanks to individual midwives and complaints about waiting times.

The boards are often used to celebrate the arrival of new babies and comments have been left in languages other than English.

Popular use

The report found the boards were popular with staff who regularly review the feedback and because of their prominent locations – in the main entrance to the hospital and the postnatal ward – they are clearly visible to staff, patients and visitors. 

Another trust uses volunteers from its outpatient user group to act as a ‘mystery shopper team’. 

The ‘mystery shoppers’, who staff do not know are taking on this role, are invited to provide feedback following every contact they have with the trust’s services although they can do so less regularly if they wish.

Anonymous feedback

Feedback is shared anonymously with staff and action plans are developed in response to issues raised, the report said. 

It recommended that organisations ensure feedback is acted on, so that staff and patients remain engaged in the process and they develop a clear view of the purpose of feedback.

Collecting results

The King’s Fund policy fellow Lillie Wenzel said: ‘As well as helping to shape service improvements, listening to and acting on user feedback also encourages a sense of responsibility and pride among staff in the services they deliver.’

RCN lead for midwifery and women’s health Carmel Bagness said: ‘This report makes clear there are a variety of opportunities for collecting feedback. 

‘There isn’t just one correct way to do this, it’s about finding out what works locally for women, their partners and families, as well as for staff.’

She added that every organisation should have a culture where feedback is considered a key part of improving care. 

Further information

User feedback in maternity services report