How we involve providers in moderation

We moderate all stories we receive on Patient Opinion, in line with our moderation principles.

For the majority of stories, when we approve them they are published and viewable immediately on Patient Opinion. However, for some providers, such as adult social care providers, we first email the provider that the story is about.

We allow them a choice: go ahead and publish, or request that the story is restricted.

Why we do this

Go ahead and publish?

If a care provider chooses Go ahead and publish, the story appears on Patient Opinion for everyone to read, and we send alerts to relevant organisations (providers, commissioners, regulators, scrutiny organisations).

The provider and other relevant organisations can then respond on Patient Opinion, again for everyone to read.

Request restriction?

If a care provider chooses Request restriction, they must tell us why they believe the story should be restricted. Sometimes providers raise significant legal reasons why a story should be restricted.

We may refuse the request to restrict. In that case, the story will be published as normal.

We may accept the request to restrict. In that case, the story appears on Patient Opinion as restricted. Everyone can see the story is there, but will not be able to see what it says.

Even though you cannot read the story, you can see which provider restricted it, and the reason they gave. A provider cannot alter a restricted story, or post any responses to it.

When a story is restricted, we still send email alerts to relevant organisations to let them know it has been restricted, and why. They will be able to read the story.

What if the provider doesn't respond?

Patient Opinion allows 72 hours for a provider to respond to a request for a decision. If we don't receive a response, our system assumes there is no objection to publication.

Who can see a restricted story?

A restricted story can be seen by staff of “public interest bodies” registered on Patient Opinion.

You can see which public interest bodies can read a restricted story on the story page itself.

We send emails to staff of public interest bodies to let them know about a restricted story, and they can post a comment on Patient Opinion to say what action they are taking.