Results from the 2014 NHS Inpatient Survey, published today, show a strong support for the NHS and reflect a general staff commitment to providing high quality care to patients. However, the results reveal a continued struggle to deliver on some of the key aspects of care that matter most to patients.
The poll of almost 59,000 inpatients has revealed that the vast majority of people stated that they “always” had confidence and trust in their doctor - and equally so in their nurses (80%, 79% respectively). Patients’ also scored their care favourably in regard to being treated with “dignity and respect”, with 81% agreeing that they “always” were treated in this way.
By contrast 54% of people did not feel that they were “definitely” involved in decisions about their care and treatment, with over a third not satisfied that doctors “always” answered questions in a way they could understand.
Alongside this, 61% reported that they were “not completely” told about the medication side effects to watch out for when leaving hospital, and over a quarter felt that hospital staff “did not completely” take their home or family situation into account, when planning their return home. These results combined underline the need for continued effort and support to both understand the potential impact of improving care quality and deliver on the critical aspects of person centred care.
Commenting on the results, Dr Andrew McCulloch, Chief Executive of the Picker Institute, who developed and coordinated the survey, said: “It is great to see so many patients reporting positive experiences, especially in the areas of trust and confidence in the staff treating them. However, this is not an excuse to become complacent. There are still many who are not receiving the care that they need and indeed deserve. Areas such as involvement, communication and co-ordination all have significant room for improvement. In this sense stagnant results are not necessarily something to be proud of.”
“Being involved in decisions about your care, understanding your medication and its side effects and having a care plan that fully takes into account your personal circumstance are vital aspects of quality care. Furthermore these areas have strong links to subsequent lifestyle choices, concordance with treatment, as well as avoidable readmissions. All areas where positive change will support the realisation of a sustainable NHS. This change is not the responsibility of policy makers alone. Improvement will only come from individual and organisational level commitment to considering involvement, communication and coordination as an equal priority to clinical outcomes.”