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Client feedback from the perspective of social reporting

– a qualitative review

This text examines client feedback received through the Department of Social Services and Health Care's online feedback system from the perspective of social reporting. The material examined consists of just over 200 individual pieces of client feedback submitted between November 2015 and February 2016. The total amount of feedback submitted during this period was 1,554 pieces. For the purpose of social reporting, the social workers who process feedback picked out pieces of feedback from all the feedback received that concerned problems related to the service system and, in particular, problems related to gaining access to services. One point of note concerning the contents of the feedback reviewed is that clients are less likely to complain about the quality of the treatment itself than they are to complain about being treated poorly.

Based on the feedback, gaining access to services is hindered in the following ways:

  • the client cannot establish a clientship or gain access to treatment at all
    • based on an initial evaluation – the client seeks help, but he or she is assessed as not needing any help. The clients who submitted feedback about this felt that they were treated poorly or undervalued.
    • no appointments available
  • this feedback concerned doctors' appointments at maternity and child health clinics in particular
    • the service provider could not be reached
  • the service provider takes too long to call back or calls back at a time that is inconvenient for the client
  • the service number is constantly busy, and the service provider can only be contacted by telephone

Problems related to the service system manifested in the following ways:

  • the service process is inconvenient or the client is bounced around from place to place
    • the service system is bureaucratic instead of being client-oriented
    • the client's case does not progress, and nobody takes responsibility for the overall situation
  • electronic services do not serve the client in an appropriate manner
    • these pieces of feedback concerned health station appointment booking, social assistance, laboratory services, the ordering of self-treatment products and websites
  • clients can only book certain types of appointments at health stations, none of which meet the client's needs
  • the services' user interfaces are poor, information is difficult to find and the information does not steer the client forward

Even though the pieces of client feedback reviewed accounted for only a small portion of all client feedback received, their contents were significant from a qualitative standpoint. As clients themselves state in their feedback, the issues they encountered were nothing major or expensive, but rather concerned minor, yet vital factors. One of the key objectives in the restructuring of services is to improve the client experience. The aspects of the client experience that need to be developed and the solutions to these development needs can be found in client feedback. Based on the feedback reviewed, one of the most important factors from the clients' perspective is making sure that clients feel that they are heard and that their concerns are taken seriously.

Praise reveals how things are done right

Clients also submit positive feedback. The pieces of positive feedback reviewed conveyed clients' experiences in instances where they were met and heard, their situation was considered and they were treated in a friendly and professional manner. In these instances, workers treated the clients respectfully, individually and flexibly. Even if the workers were in a hurry, this was not conveyed to the client. Workers interpreted practices and rules from the client's perspective. Clients got the impression that they were taken care of. Clients also praised the atmosphere of service locations, describing how they got the impression that the workers enjoyed their work. Positive feedback was given to both social services and health care services, doctors, nurses, oral hygienists, counsellors, family workers and janitors.