The King's Fund responds to the 2018 national adult inpatient survey

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Commenting on the latest hospital inpatient survey findings, Dan Wellings, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Over the past few years the findings from the national inpatient survey, a key measure of patient satisfaction in the NHS, have held up remarkably well, but today’s figures show that workforce shortages, funding pressures and increased demand for services are clearly taking their toll. For the first time in six years people’s overall experience of hospital care has worsened, while an increasing number of patients are reporting lengthy delays in being admitted to hospital and a lack of involvement in their care.

‘The majority of patients do still report positive interactions with the doctors and nurses treating them, reflecting the tireless efforts of NHS staff to maintain quality of care in difficult circumstances, but they cannot continue to act as shock absorbers for the pressures on health and care organisations. Patients tell us time and time again that being treated with dignity and respect is the most important thing they expect from the NHS, so the decline in the number of people saying they experienced this, albeit still at relatively high levels, should ring alarm bells.

‘There is also significant work to do around the process of leaving hospital and preparing people for what happens next. Four out of ten people were not given any written information about what they should do next and a similar number weren’t told about danger signs to watch for. Nearly a quarter said they did not get enough support from health and social care professionals to manage their health conditions after leaving hospital.

‘Improving patient experience now depends on the NHS working with patients to understand what needs to change, and on the government and the NHS taking urgent action to address staffing shortages.’

Notes to editors

The full adult inpatient survey results for 2018 are published by the CQC here.

For more information or to request an interview with one of our spokespeople, please contact The King’s Fund press office on 0207 307 2585/2583 (07584 146 035 if calling out of hours).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.