The first longitudinal study of patient experience by trust, Patients’ experience of using hospital services, finds that while overall there have been small improvements in patient experience reported between 2005 and 2013, the results show a tendency towards inertia or regression to the average. However, when this is set against tightening funding since 2010, the fact that patient experience hasn’t deteriorated is reassuring.
The report, co-written by The King’s Fund and Picker, analysed the inpatient survey data for nine years across 156 trusts – accounting for more than half a million inpatients – and found that generally there was a mixed pattern of performance. For most trusts there was positive improvement in some areas and deterioration in others.
Where there has been a national policy focus, improvements in patient experience can be seen at almost all trusts – for example, in ward cleanliness.
Where there have been system-wide pressures beyond the hospital, a deterioration inpatient experience is often seen – for example, in lengths of wait for a bed after admission to hospital and timely discharge.
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