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Monday 23rd April 2018

Patients' views positive

30th May 2006

30052006_happypatient1.jpgThe Healthcare Commission has published the national and individual trust results of the survey of patients who stay overnight in hospital. The survey is one of the biggest assessments of the views of patients on the treatment and care they receive while in hospital.

It provides trusts with an independent view of what patients think of the service they are receiving, say the Healthcare Commission.  The results also feed into the Commission’s annual health check, the system for measuring the performance of NHS organisations that has replaced star ratings.

The survey looked at the experience of adult patients from all 169 NHS acute and specialist trusts in England; 80,793 patients responded, a response rate of 59 per cent.

The poll shows that hospital inpatients are broadly satisfied with their care, but do have concerns about cleanliness, lack of information and staffing.

The survey showed positive findings with regard to overall care; 92 per cent of patients rated their overall care as “excellent?, “very good? or “good? with the proportion saying this ranging from 100 per cent in some trusts to 80 per cent in others. Almost 80 per cent said they were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect while they were in the hospital, with the proportion saying this ranging from 96 per cent to 61 per cent across all trusts

Ambulance services also received good marks with nine in 10 saying they definitely found the crews reassuring, and were treated by the crews with dignity and respect. 25 per cent said that they waited longer than four hours before being admitted to a bed or a ward from the emergency department, compared with 34 per cent in 2002.

The survey highlighted concerns over some areas of care on the wards; nearly 40% needing help during meal times said the support was never or only sometimes there. Only half of patients classed their room or ward as "very clean" - down slightly since 2002. A similar number also complained about nurse staffing on wards.

The survey results suggested that better information should be provided to patients when they leave hospital; more than two fifths said they were discharged without being told about the side-effects of medication. Almost a quarter of patients said that they were not told whom to contact if they were worried about their condition after leaving hospital.

Anna Walker, Chief Executive of the Healthcare Commission, said that "Providing patients with the right information, in the right format and at the right time is crucial to their treatment and recovery, yet so many tell us that they are not receiving this.  At a time when we are all concerned to encourage care in the community, and patients favour this, it is essential that we get it right."

She added that “The survey also raises important questions about the service patients get on wards.  A worrying number of patients who needed help with eating reported a lack of such help, a concern also highlighted in our recent reports on the care of older people and our survey of stroke patients.  It is absolutely essential that people get the help that they need with eating as good nourishment plays such an important role in patient care and recovery.  We will assess trusts’ performance in this area rigorously?.

However, on a positive note Ms Walker also said that hospital staff should take heart from the fact that patients are rating their care so highly.

Chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Gill Morgan, said the results were "great to see". She added that ambulance crews should also be congratulated as they 'have worked hard in delivering reassurance and support to patients - often when they are at their most vulnerable'.

The Patients Association questioned the high satisfaction rating, doubting that nine in 10 patients are really happy with their care; they highlighted the serious concerns about staffing, cleanliness - both of which are referred to in the survey report.

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