For the first time in a decade children and young people have been given the opportunity to report their experiences of the NHS in a national survey. The results of this new survey show that most young people have good experiences of hospital treatment – but that there is much room for improvement in some key areas.
The 2014 NHS National Children’s Inpatient and Day Case Survey, designed and coordinated by Picker, collects together the views and experiences of almost 19,000 young patients and their parents or carers. The findings, published today by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), cover a wide range of issues important to children, young people, and families.
Commenting on the results, Dr Andrew McCulloch, Picker’s Chief Executive, said: “Everyone using NHS hospitals deserves to be treated with care, understanding, and attention to their personal circumstances – and so it is encouraging that most young people and parents report positive experiences of care. To the credit of NHS staff, it is clear from the findings that young people in hospital are almost always treated with respect and compassion.
“Nevertheless, there is cause for concern in the poorer ratings afforded to three areas of care: communication, involvement, and care co-ordination. Today’s survey shows that more than one in five young people and parents do not feel that staff always listen to them – and this is compounded by the fact that healthcare professionals often appeared unaware of the child or young person’s medical history. Similarly, the survey suggests that much more must be done to involve young people and parents. Patients and families have a right to be involved in decisions about care, but too often, young people and their families are not given this opportunity. This has to improve if the NHS is to call itself a truly person-centred service.”
Dr McCulloch continued: “Today’s publication is a landmark for the NHS in how it monitors and uses children’s experiences of care. It is the first time since 2004 that a national survey has focused on children and young people, and it is important that children from the age of eight have been given the opportunity to give their own feedback. This demonstrates what we have long known – that children and young people are ready and able to give feedback to help hospitals measure and understand the quality of care they provide. The challenge for the NHS is to ensure that it continues to gather this feedback and use it to improve services. “