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Helping Addenbrooke's improve outpatients' care


We are helping Addenbrooke's improve people’s experiences of outpatients, as this was an area of concern for the Care Quality Commission when they visited last year.

Healthwatch volunteers and staffWe spoke to over 200 people in three clinics; our aim was to find out what care is like now and get some suggestions for improvements. We wrote reports following these visits and changes are already being made to help improve care.

The reports were launched yesterday at our annual volunteer tea party to thank the volunteers who help us do our important work. Each of our visits to Addenbrooke's was carried out by a team of trained volunteers, and many of them came along for the launch.

We made a number of suggestions to improve care in the clinics:
  • Reducing waiting times for first appointments and improve booking in procedures.
  • Making sure appointment information is clear for patients, and provided in a way that suits them.
  • Make sure patients are able to contact the clinic easily if they need to.
  • Make sure signage to clinics is all clear and consistent.
As a result of the visits, the hospital made a number of changes to help improve people’s experiences. However, the huge demand for services does make it an ongoing challenge to make sure people are seen when they need to be. Some of the changes include:
  • piloting an outpatients’ helpline.
  • improving signage 
  • having a drinks and snacks trolley visit the clinics.
  • looking at different ways of contacting patients about appointments.

Andi Thornton, Outpatient Services Operations Manager at Addenbrooke's, said:

"Following our CQC inspection last year we were keen to get feedback from patients on how we could improve services. Healthwatch Cambridgeshire gave us the ideal opportunity to do this and we are very grateful for the information they have provided us”

“It is this kind of feedback from patients, along with responses to surveys such as the Friends and Family Test, that enables Cambridge University Hospitals to provide a high-quality and responsive service to all of our patients. We will be using this information and other feedback to develop our outpatient services in the future."

Sandie Smith, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire, said:

“This is something the hospital asked us to help them with, to help improve people’s experiences of care.

People should always receive clear information about their appointments, and know who to contact if they have any questions; this is even more important when waiting times are long.

The hospital has been very supportive of this work and we look forward to working together on improvements.”

If you have a story to share about visiting Addenbrooke's or any other care experience, please tell us. It is important that we understand how care is working for people in Cambridgeshire right now. Call us on 01480 420628, email enquiries@healthwatchcambridgeshire.co.uk or tell us online.


Addenbrooke's visit - Dermatology report

Addenbrooke's visit - ENT clinic

Addenbrooke's visit - Opthalmology clinic

Addenbrooke's Summary Report