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Developing your people to enhance your customers experience

NHS Behaving Badly?


Marie Cross

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Our beloved NHS receives a lot of negative press these days primarily around it’s failures to deliver adequate primary services, reduced care in key health areas such as mental health, increasing waiting times and so on. This negative focus extends to GP surgeries, out of hours services, ambulance and emergency services – it’s a constant dialogue of alleged mis-management, waste, underfunding, clinical errors etc.

Now we all accept that our health service is expensive to run and maintain and yet it remains close to the hearts of most people who see it as a worldwide icon of “Best of Britain”. So when YouGov published the results of a recent survey I was particularly drawn to the results showing the standout reasons for GP complaints related to individuals MANNER and ATTITUDE.

Yes, that’s right – even above medical error, poor behaviour was cited as the biggest single reason for complaints to be raised against GP’s. Looking further down the Top 5 list we also see that a BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION is listed as the fourth key driver for complaints.

So, that’s an unbelievable combined 48% of all formal complaints lodged against GP’s relate to behavioural and communication issues.

The list of key drivers is summarised as follows;
32% = poor behaviour such as manner and attitude
20% = misdiagnosis
18% = unmet expectations
16% = a breakdown in communication
13% = a poor outcome following treatment

Now the FIT team have worked with various NHS hospital and frontline GP Practices for many years so we do have an intimate understanding of the unique challenges in this particular space however these results came as something of a surprise even to me – nearly HALF of these complaints have nothing at all to do with the financial, clinical or operational state of our health service but everything to do with the ATTITUDES and BEHAVIOURS of those practitioners under scrutiny.

I feel sure you’ll agree 48% is a massive failure - but I’m not going to fire off any more criticisms at overworked, underpaid and poorly valued medical staff (they have more of that than they need right now) but I am going to highlight this survey as the perfect example of just what can happen when we don’t assume control over those day to day behaviours that can negatively impact our customers experience of our business as a great service provider.

Why would this be so important? Well just think for a moment about the time, energy and effort that could be saved if this volume of GP complaints could be reduced – enough to make life a lot easier and less stressful for GP’s and their patients I’m certain.

For those of you who’ve been involved with FIT for any length of time will know that 84% of any customers decision to do business (and keep doing business) with a commercial organisation is entirely EMOTIONAL and this applies to the Health sector in equal measure (albeit choice is significantly reduced – just where else do you go if your local practice has a particularly poor bedside manner?)

Regardless of the environment and the pressures we face we all have 100% control over our ATTITUDE – if we assume a positive attitude then we’ll begin to display positive BEHAVIOURS. Easier said than done? Well, like most things, it takes time and practice to control your mood however, the great news is, we have 10 excellent examples in our Ultimate Customer Service Training Programme to help you maintain a positive mental attitude, stay on-track and succeed on your frontline as follows;

1. Anchors
2. Smile
3. Body position or posture
4. Roosevelt’s Rule
5. Mix in success
6. Keep it in perspective
7. Fake-it technique
8. Reframe Negative Self-Talk
9. The Screen Idea
10. The Mental Enema Technique

These tips create a success formula like no other and you can find out more at www.customerservice4nhs.online . Each one of these simple and straight forward “one- percenters” will help you maintain a positive memorable attitude in any, and every, circumstance you find yourself in – whether that’s at work or home.

Until next time - Keep FIT!


Cross Marie


Marie has spent her entire working life within the frontline customer service and telesales environment - passionate about the industry, the people in it and their untapped potential! A highly respected and dynamic training professional and inspirational coach, she 'wakes and shakes' individuals to want to be better and achieve more!

Hello...I'm Marie Cross!

Marie Cross

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