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The power of individual voices

James Munro

James Munro, CEO of Care Opinion, sets out how patients can use an online feedback platform to share their experiences of care in a safe and simple way that leads to learning and change.

  • Lived experience
  • Communication and administration

Care Opinion is the UK’s non-profit public feedback platform for health and social care services. At you’ll find around 350,000 experiences of local services, posted by people via Care Opinion or Since 2005 we have built a platform which is now available across the UK, Ireland and Australia and has gained an international reputation.

At Care Opinion people are sharing stories across the whole range of health and care services: you’ll find stories about acute, community and primary care, stories of mental health care, supported living, and even prison healthcare.

The stories people share are often detailed, moving or inspiring accounts of care that went well, or care that could have been better. People share what happened, what mattered, and why. For example, our most-read story ever (over 50,000 times so far) relates to end of life care and is a moving account of person-centred care at its best.

Almost 10,000 staff and students across the UK are using Care Opinion to hear and respond to these stories, sometimes making specific, practical changes to services as a result. All this activity is public and anyone can see it.

How does this fit with National Voices?

National Voices works for “a strong patient and citizen voice, with health services built around people”. At Care Opinion, we have a complementary vision: we want people to be able to share their experiences of health and care in ways which are safe, simple, and lead to learning and change.

Both of our organisations start from the expertise, experience and needs of people using services, arguing that safe and effective health and care services can only be provided by listening carefully to the voices of those they serve. But we know that for many people, having a voice, or being heard, is not a simple matter. We need to make this simple and transparent.

While National Voices works with national charities and not-for-profit organisations, Care Opinion works to safely connect people who use services with people who provide them. The impacts this creates include resolving individual issues, restoring relationships, lifting staff morale, improving services, avoiding complaints and, slowly but steadily, changing the culture of care itself.

How might National Voices members make use of Care Opinion?

The stories on Care Opinion have been shared by people to help make care better. Collectively, this creates a unique, searchable, public resource which anyone can use freely to learn about what matters to people. You can search in all kinds of ways, including by place, condition, procedure, or service, and use the results as you wish for analysis, report writing, and discussion.

We also offer advanced searching, alerting, reporting and data visualisation for people who want to go further.

Some organisations find Care Opinion helpful as a destination which people can be referred to who want to report or resolve an issue with a local service. When you refer people to Care Opinion you are giving them a safe route to possible resolution, to helping their local services learn, and to helping to a grow a resource which everyone can use.

I hope you’ll want to explore Care Opinion yourself. Have a look and see whether services near you are listening and responding to feedback. Help us share Care Opinion with more people who could benefit, like your members. Perhaps even share your own story?

Together, we can work towards health and care services in which people’s voices are welcomed, listened to, and acted upon for the benefit of all.