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Hospital gains good feedback after updating patient letters to make them clearer


Staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust have undertaken the mammoth task of re-writing more than 8,000 patient letters to make them more user-friendly.

Previously, many patients would read the first line of the letter with the specifics of the appointment but didn’t read beyond this. It took the three-person Central Support Team at the RD&E ten months to re-work the letter for all departments, making it read more simply and highlighting the key messages such as what to bring to the appointment. They did the work on top of their normal day jobs because they wanted to improve the letters for patients coming to the hospital.

Jackie Hatton, one of the team, said: “We have already had some really positive feedback from patients. One lady rang the department before her visit and asked why she needed to bring her dressing gown when previous letters hadn’t said this.

“As it happens, all the letters she had received had said this but, because the information was quite well hidden before, she had never noticed it.”

All the letter templates that have been drawn up will now be used in future training.
The hard graft of the team was recognised with an Extraordinary People Award which will be presented at a ceremony in November. The awards are held throughout the year to thank staff for going the extra mile in their work.




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