Survey finds most patients are positive about their hospital care, but many still experience delays when they leave
A majority (84%) of respondents in the latest national survey of hospital inpatients published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated their overall experience as seven or higher out of ten, with about one in four people rating it ten out of ten. The latest survey – the twelfth time it has been carried out – is based on the replies of more than 59,000 people who stayed in one of 154 acute and specialist NHS trusts in England for at least one night during June, July or August 2014. The survey asked people about their experiences of the care and treatment they received, including: whether they were given enough information, whether they were involved in decisions about their care, whether there were enough nurses to care for them, whether the wards were noisy and clean and what arrangements were in place for when they left hospital. Over three quarters (77%) of people said they were ‘always’ well looked after during their hospital stay, but two out of five said they experienced a delay when it was time to leave the hospital. The results, which haven’t changed significantly since the 2013 survey, show that patients rated highly when asked to say how clean their room or ward was, with 97% of people saying that the room or ward they were in was either ‘very’ (69%) or ‘fairly’ (28%) clean. The majority of respondents ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the staff that treated them. Eight out of ten ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the doctors (the same as the 2013 survey) and 78% ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the nurses (an increase from 77% in 2013). However, over two fifths (42%) said there were delays with being discharged from hospital with the majority (61%) citing the main reason for the delay as waiting for medicines. Nearly one in four (23%) of those who experienced delays waited for longer than four hours. Of those for whom this was necessary, almost a fifth (18%) of respondents said they would have liked to have spoken to a member of staff about any additional equipment, or adaptations in their home they might need after they had left hospital. Over 40% of patients said there were ‘sometimes or rarely or never’ enough nurses on duty to care for them, whereas six out of ten said there were ‘always or nearly always’ enough, compared with 59% in 2013. Of those who used the call bell, almost one in five (18%) said that they experienced waits of over five minutes before they got help. One per cent never got the help requested. Of those who had an operation or procedure, one in ten said they did not understand the explanation given by staff of how their operation went. Professor Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said: “Despite the pressures facing the NHS, many patients are reporting positive experiences about their care. “This is not the case in every hospital. The survey demonstrates the significant variation between the best and worst performing trusts. The results match the findings from CQC’s inspections which highlight the variation between trusts, and even between services within trusts. “I strongly urge senior staff to review their results to see where improvements can be made as every patient deserves to receive the best possible care.” As well as a report of the national findings, CQC has published the results for each of the 154 acute and specialist NHS trusts that took part, so that people can look at and compare the performance of their local services. You can find the results on our website.