Building a Better Health Service

With Patients and Service Users

Use my name and your name

  • Introduce yourself and outline your role – similar to #hellomynameisUse my name and your name
  • Turn towards the person make eye contact and use a compassionate tone of voice

People remember how you make them feel. The first few seconds of interaction between a person and a staff member sets the tone of the whole interaction. Try to make every contact count. 


70% of all of our communication is delivered by body language. This is why making eye contact, smiling and turning towards a person is so important. This behaviour will help people to feel that they matter and demonstrates to the person that they have your full attention.

Keep people informed – explain the now and the next

  • Share information with people on what you are doing now and what the next step will beKeep people informed
  • Reduce uncertainty as much as you can

Sharing information with people can help to reduce their uncertainty and give them a sense of control. Use language that they understand and encourage them to ask questions. Try to provide a dignified, safe space for your conversation.

People can sometimes feel vulnerable when they are using health services.  Explaining what you are doing now and what the next step will be can help to reduce uncertainty for them. “Research has shown that there are fewer errors and better treatment outcomes when there is good communication between patients and their health-care providers, and when patients are fully informed and educated about their treatment and medication”.  (World Health Organization, 2012).

This behaviour can be applied when communicating with people in person, by phone or in writing. 

Do an extra, kind thingdo an extra kind thing

  • Provide small acts of kindness
  • A kind gesture is very human and powerful

A small, unexpected gesture helps to create a sense of caring and compassion. Small acts of kindness build trust with staff. We are proud to work for an organisation that demonstrates such kindness. 

This behaviour can be interpreted by each staff member in their own way and it may be as simple as saying a kind word, showing the way if someone gets lost or rings the wrong Department, or holding a hand in a time of need. ake time to recognise when a patient or service user might appreciate a thoughtful or meaningful gesture. This can have a hugely positive impact, because sometimes it’s the small things that can make a big difference to people.

Read about the personal  and the with colleagues.