Working with the Big Brother booth diary room


As a Trust, we continuously strive to ensure our service users and carers are at the heart of everything we do and over the last two years, we have undertaken some ground-breaking work on how we listen to people.

We wanted to find a way of hearing exactly what people think about us and the services we provide so that we can make sure we continue to make a difference.

We have lots of ways that people can feedback to us, national surveys, via our communications and through our compliments and complaints processes but we wanted something more. Something that would give us real-time feedback and something that had such an impact, it was impossible to ignore!

We have taken our Big Brother booth to a series of events and meetings across our footprint to find out what people really think.

We asked two simple questions: Tell us something you think we do well and, tell us something you think we can improve. We are the first NHS Trust in the North West to have used this innovative way of engaging with people and the results have been outstanding. 

So what do we do with the footage?

  • Trust Board – we show all footage we collect to our Trust Board, who have been quite simply blown away by what they see. It provides them with the assurance they need that we are engaging with people and most importantly of all, we are listening. They now receive a regular patient experience update at Board meetings and ensure themes emerging from the feedback is acted upon.
  • Service Users and Carers – We show the footage at our regular Service User and Carer Forums to feedback to the people who really matter.
  • Our Partners – we work with a variety of voluntary organisations and we have shown this at lots of their meetings. They have been impressed by our honesty – it is easy to ask for positive feedback but we’ve taken a brave step by asking people to tell us what we could improve on.
  • Our staff – the footage is now shown as part of staff training and induction and our Assistant Directors have been tasked with driving through some of the changes we plan to make as a result of the footage. 

What has changed as a result of the feedback?

Some key themes emerged from the feedback in the Booth. These are:

Stigma and Raising Awareness of mental ill Health and Learning Disabilites

Some of the feedback was centered around our service users feeling we could do more work in raising awareness of mental ill health and learning disabilities. This challenge also came direct from service users via other feedback methods as well as the Booth. As a direct response to this, we launched our award-winning Sticks & Stones campaign in April 2010, which is designed to challenge stigma and change perceptions of mental ill health and learning disabilities. We took the booth to public areas to gather their views on some of the words used to describe mental health and learning disabilities and this formed the basis of the campaign. Some key successes are:

  • Over 100,000 pledges to stop using everyday offensive words
  • Service user involvement throughout in media, talks at prisons, schools, showcases
  • Maximising support through social networking sites, including celebrity tweets from Stephen Fry, free of charge, throughout the campaign
  • Celebrity endorsement of 10 high profile celebrities, free of charge, including Gary Neville, Alastair Campbell and Paul O’Grady
  • Sporting endorsement from Everton FC, Wigan Athletic FC, Cricketer Marcus Trescothick, Wigan Warriors Rugby League club, St Helens Rugby Club and Warrington Wolves Rugby League club
  • Production of bespoke ‘Purple Ronnie’ designs to support the campaign, by creator Giles Andreae
  • Generation of over 82 media stories directly related to the campaign and stigma
  • 5 high-profile Awards presented to the campaign
  • 30 local employers committed to delivering campaign messages to their employees
  • Campaign messages reached over 7,100 pupils at local schools who are utilising specially produced lesson plans aimed at educating children and young people about mental ill health and learning disabilities
  • Secured support of all MPs across five boroughs, including Andy Burnham, Shadow Education Secretary. 

Feeling Valued

Although we regularly receive positive feedback commending out staff, we have on occasion received some feedback that sometimes our service users don’t always feel valued. As a result of this, we have engaged our workforce and our service users in identifying 5 key values that the Trust will live by. These are:

As well as identifying them, we have undergone a significant exercise to ensure our staff are demonstrating these values in their every day working lives. Staff have pledged their support, been encouraged to share their thoughts and this is now embedded within our annual development cycle here at the Trust. 

Service User involvement and Communications

Some of the feedback said that although we communicated and did involve service users, we could look at expanding this. As a direct result, Outlook, the Trust’s service user and carer newsletter, has been evaluated. A panel of service users are now actively involved in coming up with the ideas for content and in producing that content for each issue.

In addition, the Trust runs a highly respected Invovement Scheme, which encourages our service users, carers and volunteers, to take part of a range of activities within the Trust. These include sitiing on interviews, audits and inpections and being involved in our infection control work, which won a national Nursing Times Award 2010. Click here to view more information on this award win.

Services for Young People

Early footage from the video booth revealed that some young people felt there could be more services to support them. The Trust opened it’s revolutionary Fairhaven Young People's Unit, which is an in-patient mental health care facility designed to meet the needs of teenagers, in line with our belief that the best care and support is given when it is delivered in an environment where people feel safe, comfortable and valued. Our resources are focussed on the needs of young people as individuals and those of their family and carers. 

You can view some of the footage for yourself below:

The first video below features Simon Barber our Chief Executive discussing his philosophy on Patient Experience. Click on the image below to view: 


You can view some earlier footage that we have done at our Trust events below:

  • Annual Service user conference – April 2012 – ‘Tell us something that we do well as a Trust’ click here to view this footage.
  • St Gregory’s High school – April 2012 ‘How did you feel about people with mental ill health before you knew about ‘Sticks and Stones’ campaign, click here to view this footage.
  • In-patient wards – Hollins Park – November 2010, click here to view this footage.
  • Foundation Trust Celebration event – Halton - April 2012 ‘What would you like to see improved at the Trust?,  - click here to view this footage.
  • Service user and carer conference – Halton - March 2009 ‘Tell us something that you think we do well & tell us something that you think we could improve’ – , click here to view this footage.
  • Trust AGM – Wigan - September 2009 ‘Tell us something that you think we do well & tell us something that you think we could improve’ – , click here to view this footage. 
  • Warrington Golden Square – July 2009 - We also asked people what they thought of the booth and the event –, click here to view this footage.  

We’re dedicated to continuously improving our services and the Big Brother booth forms a key part of this commitment. For other ways to get involved and have your say, please click here (link to involvement scheme)

If you have any questions about the booth, please contact Michelle Ewen, PR and Publications Officer on 01925 664518

**Please note if you are a user of Firefox you may have problems viewing these videos, if so contact**




Add Comment

No comments just yet, why not add one?