Results from the NHS Adult Inpatient Survey 2016, published today, show declines in key aspects of person centred care, which had previously shown improvement. In comparison, patients’ overall experience in quality of communication with medical staff remains positive.
In the survey of over 77,000 inpatients, the proportion of respondents who said they were ‘definitely’ involved in decisions about their care and treatment fell to 56%, having improved steadily from 52% to 59% between 2011 and 2015. In addition, only 38% of respondents stated they were ‘definitely’ able to find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about their worries and fears, significantly lower than results from previous years.
Patients were also less likely to report positive experiences of leaving hospital than in last year’s survey. In 2016, only 38% of respondents said that medication side effects to watch out for had been ‘completely’ explained to them, a two percent decrease from the year before, again reversing improvements achieved in recent years. This year’s findings also suggest that patients are having more difficulty in accessing support from health and social care services:
- 55% (down from 57% in 2015) of those who needed support to help recover and manage their condition said they ‘definitely’ received enough.
- 18% (up from 16% ins 2015) of those who wanted to discuss whether they would need any further health and social care services after leaving hospital said that staff did not raise this with them.
Despite recent changes, there are several areas which show improvements over a much longer period. Confidence and trust in clinical staff remains high with an increasing number of patients who said they ‘always’ had confidence and trust in nurses (2006; 75%, 2015; 79%, 2016; 80%). Patterns of communication are changing somewhat with 78% of respondents in 2016 saying that doctors did not talk in front of them as if they weren’t there, better than 71% in 2006 and 77% in 2015.
Commenting on the results, Jenny King, Chief Research Officer at Picker, who developed and coordinated the survey on behalf of the Care Quality Commission, said: “From our research we know that communication, involvement and continuity of care are all critical aspects of person centred care. Results continue to show that patients value NHS staff and report good communication in some areas which is positive to see. Nevertheless, the survey highlights declines in patients’ experiences of involvement in their own care and in co-ordination when leaving hospital and this is a concern.
‘It is widely reported that the NHS is under pressure and the results highlight a risk that improvements of the past could be lost if trusts and policy makers fail to keep the provision of high quality person centred care a top priority.”