Majority of hospital patients positive about care, survey shows

THE majority of hospital inpatients in England were happy with the care they received but those with a mental health condition highlighted areas for improvement, a new survey has found.

Most patients said they had confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them and had a better overall experience.

However, they were less positive about arrangements and information received when leaving hospital. Those with a mental health condition also reported a poorer than average experience in a number of areas.

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) annual national patient survey asked more than 70,000 adults across every NHS acute trust in the country about the care they received. This covered areas such as quality of information and communication with staff, whether they were given enough privacy, the amount of support given to help them eat and drink and assist with personal hygiene, and discharge arrangements.

The responses to the 2017 survey show a number of improvements particularly in relation to patient’s interactions with hospital staff. In 2017, the majority (82 per cent) thought they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity, (compared to 78 per cent in 2009) and slightly more people said they ‘always’ had confidence in the nurses treating them (78 per cent in 2017 compared to 77 per cent in 2016 and 72 per cent in 2009).

In contrast, patients aged 16 to 35, those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and those with a mental health condition reported having less confidence and trust in the staff caring for them.

Although half of respondents rated their overall experience while in hospital as nine or more out of 10, an increase of two per cent since 2016, feedback in relation to discharge arrangements and information about care after leaving hospital remained one of the weakest aspects of patient experience.

Less than two-thirds (62 per cent) of patients surveyed left hospital with written information telling them how to look after themselves after discharge, a decrease of five per cent since 2009, and 43 per cent of patients who were given medication to take home were not told of the possible side effects (44 per cent in 2016).

Chief inspector of hospitals Professor Ted Baker said it was “encouraging” to see some areas of improvement and praised healthcare professionals who worked “tirelessly” to provide high quality care.

But he noted the “continued disparity” between the experiences of those with a mental health condition and those without and said hospitals must address the issue.

Read the survey here