NHS website

NHS website

NHS website (formerly called NHS Choices) is the primary public facing website of the NHS. Its pages include directories of local health services (a Directory of Services), information on a wide range of conditions and treatments and accessible public health information. The site also provides comparative data about healthcare providers, to help people make informed choices about their healthcare and allows patients to provide online feedback on services.

Pharmacy contractors can register to take ownership of their pharmacy profiles and edit information such as opening hours, services offered and car parking arrangements. It is also possible to register to receive alerts and respond to any patient feedback left on the site.

Further information on the Quality Payments scheme and pharmacy’s NHS website profiles

Guidance about NHS Choices now being referred to as the NHS website

The NHS Choices logo has been removed from the NHS website but the NHS identity will remain. The website URL will remain the same: www.nhs.uk and any pages with updated URLs will be redirected to the NHS website.

References to ‘NHS Choices’ will need to be updated to ‘the NHS website’ on websites and social media channels; in some instances, it may be more appropriate to use: www.nhs.uk

NHS Digital has issued guidance on how to remove references to NHS Choices.

PSNC is in the process of updating its website to reflect this change.

Registering for management rights

There are two types of management rights that pharmacies can register to obtain:

  • Web Editor rights allow an individual to update the editable information on their pharmacy profile, e.g. service details or opening times.
  • Comment Administrator rights alert an individual to the publication of moderated patient feedback (a rating and/or free text comment) on their profile, and allow the individual to publish (subject to a moderation process) a response to that feedback.

It is for a pharmacy contractor to decide whether they would like the same staff member or two different staff members to perform these separate functions. More than one staff member can be registered linked to a particular role and one staff member can be registered linked to more than one pharmacy profile.

If you have not already been fully set up on NHS website, you can apply for web editing rights hereif however you are applying for editing rights to meet the requirements of the Quality Payment Scheme (QPS), please follow the instructions on the QPS section of the website.

As well as ensuring information on the site is up-to-date, taking control of the information on the NHS website pharmacy profile offers pharmacies a marketing opportunity. Where pharmacies currently have no website, the profile pages on NHS website could act as the pharmacy’s website address. Where pharmacies already have a website, pharmacies can hyperlink to this from their NHS website pharmacy profile.

Once you have web editing rights, the guide to editing pharmacy profiles on the NHS website explains how to update your profile.

Patient feedback

Patients that want to leave a comment about a pharmacy need to locate the relevant pharmacy on the NHS website and:

  • click on the yellow ‘Leave review’ box;
  • click on ‘Reviews and ratings’ and then click on the yellow ‘Leave review’ box; or
  • click on the ‘Leave review’ tab.

Patients will be asked to state whether, based on their overall experience, they would recommend the pharmacy to friends and family. They will then be asked to review the pharmacy by typing in a free-text comments box. No comments will be posted until they have been individually moderated. Members of the public visiting a profile will be able to view any feedback left by clicking on the ‘Reviews and ratings’ tab.

Pharmacy right of reply

Pharmacy contractors can register for ‘comment administrator’ rights to receive an alert that a comment has been posted and to respond. Replies will appear directly beneath the original comment.

Responding to a comment

  • When a comment is left on a pharmacy profile, ‘comment administrators’ will receive an email alert from NHS website. This email will be from the sender ‘No Reply’ and will have the title ‘NHS website: content published’.
  • The email will tell you a comment has been left against the pharmacy’s profile and provide a link to that comment on NHS website. It will also provide a link to the system, called ‘organisation response’, where you can write your reply.
  • You will need to login to the organisation response system using your email address and password. These details will have been provided to you by email when your comment administrator account was activated.
  • Once you are logged in to ‘organisation response’, you will see all of the comments that have been made about your pharmacy. Each comment will have a link to ‘Enter a response’.
  • When clicked, a box will open up into which you can write your response. Responses can be a maximum of 2,000 characters.
  • When you have finished writing your response, click the ‘submit response’ button.
  • This response will then enter NHS website moderation system. Once it has passed moderation, it will be published beneath the original comment.

Safeguards

A number of important safeguards have been put in place to protect pharmacies and members of staff from unwarranted threats to their reputation. These are as follows:

  • All comments published on the NHS website are reviewed by moderators who will reject any comments in breach of their comments policy and general terms and conditions.
  • Comments that are unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, obscene, sexually suggestive, racist, homophobic or sexist, or that incite or promote hatred of any group or individual will be removed.
  • Individual staff (either clinical or nonclinical) cannot be named and all gender references will be removed.
  • Whilst anonymous comments are allowed, users have to provide a validated e-mail address before a comment can appear on the site so NHS website can contact the correspondent if necessary;
  • A ‘report as unsuitable’ link directly under a comment enables people to bring to the NHS website team’s attention, comments they deem to be unsuitable or offensive. Reporting a comment will not delete it but will temporarily remove it and ensure that it is looked at as soon as possible. The moderators will then decide whether to remove it permanently or reinstate it.
  • The comments section is not suitable for making general political points about NHS services.
  • Feedback from pharmacy staff will not be accepted.
  • Pharmacy staff must not post comments on behalf of patients, their friends or family members.

Further information can be found in the NHS website comments policy and the patient feedback terms of use

Hints and tips from NHS website on responding to patient feedback

  1. Remember that patients’ comments are opinions, not statements of fact. The NHS website team is not in a position to check whether each opinion is factually correct. You may disagree with the patient, but they are entitled to express their opinions as long as they are honest and genuinely held.
  2. Respond to all comments, good or bad. It shows the commenter you listen and that their comment has been read and acknowledged.
  3. Say who has left the response. This adds a personal touch and increases the perception that the practice is an open, welcoming place.
  4. Welcome all opinions and try not to be defensive or aggressive if the comment is negative. Do not take comments personally. Every organisation receives critical comments at some point – try to respond constructively.
  5. Do not use the same stock response to each comment. If anything, this looks worse than not responding at all.
  6. Take anonymous comments as seriously as named ones. Just because someone has chosen to comment anonymously, it does not mean the comment is malicious. A good way of approaching anonymous comments is to suggest the user visits the pharmacy to talk in person about the issues they’ve raised.
  7. Pharmacies can respond to most comments without breaching patient confidentiality. As a bare minimum, a pharmacy can say patient confidentiality prevents them from going into detail but that the commenter is welcome to visit the pharmacy to discuss the issues personally.
  8. Remember, your reply will be the final word. People giving feedback are not allowed to post further comments about the same experience or respond to the pharmacy’s replies. If this does happen, report the comment and we will remove it.
  9. The commenter may have said nothing to the pharmacy at the time but still write a negative comment about their experience. Just because you do not recognise the experience, it does not mean it did not happen.
  10. Patient feedback is completely separate from the official NHS complaints process. If someone is following that process, they are still entitled to leave feedback.
  11. Communications between the NHS website team and anyone providing feedback are confidential. Do not ask the NHS website team to tell you who wrote the comment. They cannot. If they did, they’d breach data protection laws.
  12. Remember, your response will be seen by everyone who reads your pharmacy’s comments, not just the original commenter. Your reply is a good opportunity to market your pharmacy, and a constructive response to a critical piece of feedback leaves a good impression with the website’s readers.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I post  information on the private services that I provide on my NHS website pharmacy profile?
A. Yes, pharmacies can include information on both private and NHS-funded healthcare services on the NHS website.

Q. Does the same individual need to act as profile editor and patient feedback comment administrator for a particular pharmacy?
A. No. The passwords for editing pharmacy profiles and responding to feedback are different. It is for a pharmacy contractor to decide whether they would like the same staff member or different staff members to perform these two functions.

Q. Is it possible for more than one staff member from the same pharmacy to have profile editing rights?
A. Yes, it is possible to have multiple individuals assigned as editors of a particular pharmacy profile, for example if it was a contractor’s preference to have a staff member at Head Office and a staff member at store level, sharing responsibility for keeping the profile up to date.

Q. Is it possible to assign more than one staff member from a particular pharmacy patient feedback comment administrator rights (including receiving email alerts when comments are posted)?
A. Yes, it is possible to have multiple individuals assigned as patient feedback comment administrators of a particular pharmacy, for example, if a pharmacy owner would prefer to delegate responsibility for responding to feedback to a member of their team but would also like to personally receive the alerts of any feedback received.

Q. If there is a change of ownership of the pharmacy, how should the new owner register for profile editing rights and patient feedback comment administrator rights?
A. The new owner should contact the NHS website helpdesk for these rights; access will be enabled for the new owner and access rights removed from the old owner.

Q. How long will comments remain on the NHS website?
A. Published comments and ratings remain on the NHS website for 2 years from the date they are published. After 2 years they are deleted along with any associated ratings and information.

Q. If patients have provided feedback on a pharmacy profile and there is a change in ownership, will the comments be removed?
A. The comments will still be retained provided the pharmacy occupies the same physical premises and retains the same name. If it moves or changes name, the NHS website team would normally remove the feedback and/or set up a new profile. Where the feedback is retained, the NHS website team would advise the new owners to make clear in their profile that the pharmacy is under new ownership and, if there are old items of feedback which have not been replied to, add replies to these stating that this feedback relates to a period when the pharmacy was under different ownership.

Q. Do distance selling pharmacies (DSPs) have an NHS website pharmacy profile?
A. As DSPs cannot provide Essential services to patients on their pharmacy premises NHS website doesn’t provide a geographic pharmacy profile for this type of pharmacy. Instead the site details the websites of DSPs in a separate list which is accessible from the search results page whenever a website user searches for a pharmacy. 

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