Birmingham Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust has launched a real-time feedback application, allowing patients to post comments on its website.

The trust is offering the app to patients, families and visitors to use on smartphones to post immediate thoughts, complaints and compliments. It said the initiative was the first of its kind nationally.

Anonymous messages are sent directly to the ward manager in charge of patients, with the aim that they address any concerns raised. The messages are also publicly displayed on the trust’s website.

The app, which will cost £100,000 over seven years, has been developed by the company Digital Life Sciences, with support from NHS Midlands and East.

It has been trialled on two wards and is now being rolled out across the trust.

As well as the comments facility the app allows users to rate whether they would recommend care to their friends and family. The results will be used as part of the nationally required friends and family programme.

Messages are moderated as they go live on the hospital website to protect staff and patients and to ensure medical details and offensive language are removed.

Chief nursing officer Michelle McLoughlin, who has been leading the project, said: “The app enables us to gather feedback in a way that our patients and families want to give it so we know immediately what we are getting right and what we need to improve to make their time with us the best it can be.

“Staff have embraced the technology and find it so rewarding to see the feedback from their patients and families and be able to respond straight away.”

She said the app was not a “gimmick” and other trusts could benefit from using it.

Ward manager Sue Davies added: “What I think is particularly good is that we can send a reply back to them [users] quickly to acknowledge their comments and let them know what we have done in response.

“It shows that we take their views seriously and they don’t just disappear into a black hole.”