Mar 032014

A member of our student community, Ilaria Pignatelli, is the Campaign Manager for Ask One Question. She tells us about their simple pledge for NHS Change Day.

Ilaria Pignatelli

Ilaria Pignatelli

We ask a lot of questions through medical school. History taking and skills practice bring up some valid questions, but are we always asking the right ones?

The thought of visiting hospital can be a scary and unpleasant experience for many patients, so after asking all the routine questions; why not ask: “What can I do to improve your stay?”

The Ask One Question campaign is doing just that. It’s a world-wide, student-led healthcare improvement initiative, encouraging students to ask their patients: “What can I do to improve your stay?” and, when possible, act on their requests. It was started by students in Cardiff who have already gained recognition outside of Wales.1, 2

In support of NHS Change Day, students at Cardiff University launched the campaign, pledging to ask 10 patients the question and recruit two more colleagues to do the same. The intention is that this will help to identify what we are doing right as well as areas for improvement. Each participant will be recording patient responses and their actions will be fed back to key stakeholders such as Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff University itself to identify the top 10 areas for improvement.

I met a like-minded group of people who were committed to bringing about change and improvement in healthcare. Despite only having participated for a couple of weeks, what has become immediately clear to me is the potential of the campaign in making a difference to patient experience

Katie Carnegie, 1st year Cardiff Medical Student

It doesn’t take any extra time, and really it is just about demonstrating good manners, something which is at the core of the GMC’s Good Medical Practice guidance. As healthcare professionals, both in training and qualified, we should be asking our patients this instinctively to ensure the care we provide is patient-centred. (tweet this)

I feel honoured to have the chance to be a part of something so simple but yet cutting edge and innovative. I am learning to pick up on small cues from my discussions with patients that may have a deeper meaning behind them. I hope this project will be able to highlight our dedication to the wellbeing of patients and begin a fresh chapter in patient driven medicine.

Lorenzo Giacci, 2nd year Cardiff Medical Student

We invite all students and young professionals worldwide to join us in this campaign, to help make actionable improvements to the patient experience, giving patients the care they need and deserve.

If you’re interested in being part of our work at Ask One Question, join our Facebook Group.

Ilaria Pignatelli is the Campaign Manager for Ask One Question. You can also follow them on Twitter at @Ask1Q.


1. Ward, H. Kibble, S. Mehta, g. Franklin, M. Kovoor, J. Jones, A. Panesar, S. Carson-Stevens, A. How Asking Patients a Simple Question Enhances Care at the Bedside: Medical Students as Agents of Quality Improvement. Perm J 2013 Fall;17(4):27-31

2. Launer, J. Good questions. Postgrad Med J 2014;90:121-122

  2 Responses to “An NHS Change Day pledge – Ask One Question”


    This is an excellent initiative. I hope it will help spread compassion through the NHS


    Thank you – we hope that this will help mobilise healthcare professionals of all levels to reflect on their practice and ensure they are taking a more patient-centred, individualised approach

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