Survey finds mostly positive experience of children in hospital

A SURVEY has found that nearly two-thirds (73 per cent) of children and young people (aged 8-15) in hospital during the pandemic felt they had been looked after ‘very well’.

This compares to 70 per cent who said this before the pandemic in 2018.

The 2020 Children and Young People’s NHS Patient Experience Survey (conducted by the Care Quality Commission and Department of Health and Social Care) also found that 89 per cent felt that the staff looking after them were ‘always’ friendly (87 per cent in 2018).

Over 27,300 children and young people under the age of 16 and their parents and carers were surveyed about the hospital care they received during November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021 – a time when the second Covid-19 wave was at its peak and NHS services were facing extreme pressures.

A majority (88 per cent) reported that staff had talked to them about how they would be cared for, and 93 per cent needing surgery said they received an explanation beforehand about what would happen.

Most children and young people (86 per cent) said they were given adequate privacy, and 92 per cent said they felt able to speak to a doctor or nurse without their parents being there.

A majority (87 per cent) of parents and carers of children aged seven and under said they felt their child had ‘always’ been well looked after by hospital staff (compared to 82 per cent in 2018), and 90 per cent said they were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect.

Even with increased visiting restrictions being in place across most hospitals in England, most parents (95 per cent) said they were ‘always’ able to be with their child as much as they needed to.

The survey also identified some areas needing improvement. Less than half (46 per cent) of children and young people said they were involved ‘a lot’ in decisions about their care and treatment, and 14 per cent said they were not involved at all.

Less than a quarter (23 per cent) of all parents and carers did not feel staff had ‘definitely’ kept them informed about what was happening with their child’s care. Only around three-quarters (72 per cent) of parents and carers said they ‘definitely’ knew what was going to happen next and 79 per cent ‘definitely’ knew who to talk to if they were worried about their child when they got home.

Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: "This is the fourth children and young people’s patient survey since it was first introduced in 2014 and I am pleased to see that once again the feedback received from the majority is largely positive.

"This year’s survey captures a snapshot of the experiences of children and young people who received care in hospital during the height of the second Covid wave. Yet despite the significant challenges faced by services at that time, the results show some encouraging improvements. This is a testament to the efforts of healthcare professionals working tirelessly to provide high quality care in the context of unprecedented pressures."

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