An innovative mystery shopper scheme which enables patients to give anonymous feedback about healthcare in East Devon has been shortlisted for a national award.

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The joint project was launched by the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages hospitals in Sidmouth and Ottery, and the Patients Association, an independent charity, in the summer.

The two organisations have been named as finalists in the 2012 Patient Experience Network National Awards (PENNA).

Under the mystery shopper scheme, current and prospective patients are asked to evaluate their experience of using the trust’s services through each stage of their care.

The anonymous feedback is sent to the relevant clinicians and teams involved in the person’s care to share best practice and identify areas for improvement.

Carolyn Mills, director of nursing, said: “We consider patients to be experts by experience, and in recent months the mystery shopper scheme has proved to be an extremely valuable way of finding out how they view their care.”

Both organisations have been invited to the PENNA Awards Day and Best Practice Conference in Birmingham next month, when they will showcase their project before the finalists vote for an overall winner.

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