The CQC’s latest annual patient survey, which had more than 75,000 responses, found that, while confidence remained high in nursing staff, less than half of respondents rated their overall hospital experience as “nine or above” out of 10.
“Staff are working incredibly hard, but it is clear we have reached a point where this alone is not enough”
Professor Ted Baker
This figure is not only down from the 50% achieved in the last survey in 2017, but also marks an end to the trend of year on year improvements previously seen for this question in the annual questionnaire of patient experience.
In wake of the new findings, the Royal College of Nursing has said that due to the growing staffing crisis in the health service, it was “sadly no surprise” that some patients were less satisfied with their care.
Among the positive results from the survey, which received responses from people who spent at least one night in hospital during July 2018, 80% of respondents felt they had “always” been treated with dignity and respect by nursing staff and other clinicians.
In addition, 69% said they “always” had confidence in the decisions made by nurses and doctors about their condition or treatment. Though both figures were a 2% drop from 2017 results.
“Patient confidence in NHS staff remains high thanks in no small part to the dedicated work of nursing professionals”
Meanwhile, of those who had an operation while in hospital, 80% said that staff answered their questions in a way they could understand “completely”. While this remains high, it has dropped slightly from 81% who said this in 2017.
The survey results go one to raise concerns about the lack of information patients are provided on discharge. Results show that 40% of patients surveyed left hospital without written information telling them how to look after themselves once they had left hospital.
In total, 44% of respondents who were given medication to take home said they were not told about the possible side effects to watch out for.
In addition, 39% of those surveyed reported that they had to wait a long time before getting a bed. The proportion of those satisfied with the time they had to wait decreased since last year from 63% in 2017, down to 61% in 2018.
Meanwhile, of the 41% of people who said that their discharge was delayed, more than a quarter reported that they were delayed for longer than four hours- a 2% increase from last year.
“It’s sadly no surprise that some patients are less satisfied with the care they’ve received”
Of those surveyed, only 15% said that they had been asked to give their views on the quality of care received during their stay, compared to 20% in 2017.
Just over half of respondents reported that they felt they were “definitely involved” as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment.
The survey also found that, in 2018, fewer people said they had discussions with staff about the need for further health and social care services after they had been discharged.
Almost a quarter of survey respondents said that they did not get enough support from health and social care professionals to manage their condition once they were home.
Chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, Professor Ted Baker, said: “Most people continue to report positively about their interaction with staff, reflecting the significant efforts of healthcare professionals working tirelessly to meet increasing levels of demand in hospitals across the country.
edward ted baker
“However, I am disappointed to see the overall lack of progress this year and that in some cases people are reporting poorer experiences, particularly around the quality of information when they were discharged and the integration of their care from different parts of the system,” he said.
“Last year’s survey showed a healthcare system still delivering improvements despite growing pressure,” he said. “But this year, the improvement trend we have seen for the past six years has not been sustained.”
“Staff are working incredibly hard, but it is clear we have reached a point where this alone is not enough,” he added.
Professor Baker said the “mounting pressure” on the healthcare system is having a direct impact on how people are experiencing inpatient care. He noted that the need for greater collaboration between local health and care services has “never been more apparent”.
As well as a report of the national findings, the health watchdog has also published results for each of the 144 individual trusts that took part.
Mr Baker added: “I would like NHS trusts to reflect on their individual survey results to help them identify what individual changes they can make to help drive improvements, but there is a wider need for all parts of the health and care system to come together to support staff to manage the increased need for services and ensure the best quality of care for everyone.”
Source: Gareth Harmer
Responding to the survey findings, the RCN director for England, Patricia Marquis said: “Patient confidence in NHS staff remains high thanks in no small part to the dedicated work of nursing professionals, many of whom routinely work unpaid overtime to deliver the care people need.
“But given the growing staffing crisis in wards across the country, it’s sadly no surprise that some patients are less satisfied with the care they’ve received as hospital inpatients,” she said.