Join the National Conversation from your own living room

Guest post by Gina Alexander, Director, Patient Opinion Scotland

A National Conversation about health and care? A brilliant idea and one Patient Opinion wholeheartedly supports.

On a daily basis, at Patient Opinion, we see conversations taking place sparked by stories shared about health and care services. These happen online at Patient Opinion and Care Opinion where everyone can see what people have to say and how services respond.

These conversations are, of course, in the here and now (or the recent past) but can help “the system” learn and influence not only how things are done, but how we communicate and work with each other.

Stories shared can lead to really practical changes which have positive repercussions for everyone. Often ideas for improvement can only be identified by people on the receiving end of services. This is such a simple idea from an NHS Ayrshire & Arran patient:

I think the colour pathways look great and easy to understand but think it would help patients if the letter was colour coded too (

Here’s another from “sensible thinker” (people share their stories anonymously on the websites, and change still happens!) where we can see the difference their story made. “Thanks to you, today we started a trolley service around the wards of Queen Margaret Hospital”(

Other stories have life changing consequences for individuals like “Hopedashed” ( but are full of potential to change the lives of others too.

One certainty is that all stories shared provide opportunities to reflect on the way we do things, how we communicate and how we treat each other. They help us to gain some insight into what it feels like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes ( and emphasise the importance of connecting ( with each other as people.  They make it possible to change the future.

We use this quote a lot when we are helping staff to think about how they respond to stories and take part in these online conversations:

Meaningful conversations are so vital to our future experiences and it’s important we can all get involved and with Patient Opinion and Care Opinion you can join in the conversation from the comfort of your own living room!

Have a story to tell? Go online now at We’ll make sure your story gets to the right bit of the health service.

Published by

Healthier Scotland

The Scottish Government is inviting you to have your say on what a healthier Scotland should look like in the next 10 to 15 years.