Patients' perception of health care
Rachel Leaver, BSc (Hons) Health studies, RN.
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Continent Urinary Diversions, University College Hospitals NHS Trust, London; and Council Member, British Association of Urological NursesIn the past the NHS has been accused of being a paternalistic organisation (Dieppe and Horne, 2002). Using patients' views to improve health-care delivery has only developed over the past decade or so (Wensing and Elwyn, 2002). But despite all the recent changes, are patients today really free to have their say and truly involved in managing their treatment? After all, where do patients get their perception of how health care is delivered? Arguably, the two main influences are the media and personal experience. While shock headlines may influence some patients to view health care with a jaundiced eye, those who have used the service and had a good experience are less likely to offer criticism (Judge and Solomon, 1993).
Sponsorship is a controversial topic that is guaranteed to engender heated debate among nurses.The advantage of sponsorship is having the means to employ more staff and set up or expand a department without the hassle of trying to wring money out of one's directorate.The disadvantage is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Unfortunately, as nurses, we can often find ourselves between a rock and a hard place, especially if the only way to move forward is with company money.I am not saying that all forms of sponsorship compromise care and that there should be no such practice in the NHS. What I am saying is that, as nurses, we should be aware of the potential pitfalls and ensure we are involved in any discussions and agreements undertaken by our managers with companies offering sponsorship. We must make our position clear and not agree to anything that would compromise our code of conduct or our ability to offer optimum unbiased care to our patients. The sad thing is that trusts feel the need to resort to sponsorship at all either to save money or because there is no money there in the first place.
|Dieppe, P., Horne, R. (2002) Soundbites and patient-centred care (reviews: personal views) British Medical Journal 325: 7364, 605.Judge, K., Solomon, M. (1993)Public opinion and the National Health Service: patterns and perspectives in consumer satisfaction Journal of Social Policy 22: 299-232.Wensing, M., Elwyn, G. (2002)Research on patients' views in the evaluation and improvement of quality of care. Quality and Safety in Health Care 11: 2, 153-157.|
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