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Government to prioritise patient satisfaction with nursing care


How patients rate their nursing care is likely to be made a high priority by the new government, Nursing Times understands.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has told civil servants patient experience and satisfaction should be some of the highest priority indicators used to measure how good services are in the NHS.

Research on nursing sensitive indicators by Peter Griffiths, director of the King’s College London national nursing research unit, has previously identified patients’ satisfaction with their nursing care as a good indicator of compassion and that it strongly affects their overall satisfaction with services.

Mr Lansley has also said he wants indicators of the “outcome” of care, which include death rates from some diseases and treatments and patient reported outcome measures.

He wants to focus on these areas instead of “process” targets such as the four hour accident and emergency waiting time. He is also understood not to be in favour of staff satisfaction being an important measure.

Nursing Times has been told officials are considering reducing the target for 98 per cent of A&E waits to be seen within four hours to 95 per cent, rather than scrapping it altogether.


Readers' comments (7)

  • What is going on in the health service today??? After 23yrs working in the NHS I am getting totally sick and tired of governments trying to reduce a stay in hospital to that of a holiday camp. I am paid, pitifully, to NURSE not to be a servant, a punchbag, or a b****y holiday rep. Why cant patients, not clients not customers, but patients, come into hospital get well hopefully and go home. Not rate their stay like they would a hotel but sorry to inform them IT IS NOT A HOSTEL, HOTEL OR HOLIDAY CAMP that they are staying in. Its now getting to the stage where any job is looking more appealling than nursing.

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  • Marjorie Lloyd

    Patient satisfaction is not always a reliable measure of success or effectiveness but health (not disease) outcomes could be used instead. Most nurses work on making people healthy again not on the pleasure principle of making people happy, the two do not always go together.
    Of course compassion counts but so does cost as much as we do not want to discuss it.

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  • To Miss Anonymous,

    You certainly sound very bitter, maybe after 23 years you need a change of scenery, to recover from your sickness and tiredness of governmental challenges. Your perception of 'holiday camps' is totally cynical of their request. Where is your empathy. Try putting yourself in Mr. Cameron's shoes at the care he received for his son. You can only really appreciate his experience by listening to his story. I'm sure he did not consider this a holiday.

    Have you been on the receiving end of the 'caring' profession. My father died recently in an appaulling condition after days of neglect. We were kept from him for 6 days after his admission, due to Norovirus and CDif, a practice I am told that doesn't happen!!!! He died 2 days later, with a massive bed sore where he had been lying in his own excrement. I am sure if he had been able to speak that he would have said he was 'unhappy'. Where was the care and compassion that accompanies nursing for my dad???

    My 3 year old daughter also had treatment for 3 years for a brain tumour and died 12 months ago. She loved going to hospital, because the nurses made her experience a pleasure. Most of the doctors and nurses who cared for her treated her like 'a princess' and laughter was her best medicine. She never complained through brain surgery and radiotherapy, to her this was normality. She treated Ward 9 as her second home and got to know the doctors and nurses personally. She packed her bags to go to hospital like it was a holiday. Do you know the parents suffer too, and the extended family and friends? Do you know that there is research out there to identify the needs of the child with cancer and the needs of the family? Clic Sargent try to bridge the gap and take the stress off the family. This certainly helped with our experience and satisfaction, which extends into our grief.

    Does the phrase 'treat somebody as you would want to be treated' not mean anything to you? We will all need care at some stage, even if it is only end of life care - would you not like to think that the care you receive would be a good experience, for you and your family.

    By the way, I work in maternity and promote dignity to the highest standards. Patient satisfaction is of priority and I personally treat my patients as I would want to be treated. The birthing experience they receive stays with them for a lifetime.

    I also know that the care my daughter and father received will stay with me for a lifetime.

    I truly hope you receive a better attitude if you ever need care in a hospital than you appear to suggest.

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  • If they want decent care why don't they staff the wards properly with trained nurses????? The staffing ratios in the UK are like NOTHING I have ever seen. It is no wonder that patients are lying in their own faeces with bed sores and the RN is running between so many patients with so much to do cannot communicate with families etc. The compassion is there but you sure as hell can't take the time to show it when you are working with the ratios that NHS RN's are. This is the worse country I have ever seen with regards to nurse staffing on the wards.

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  • Beverely sorry bit if you were the lone RN for 12-15 patients on your own they would be lying in their own faeces with bed sores and getting their drugs late. I don't care how compassionate you are. Compassion does not give you the ability to be 10 places at once or fight all of the constant interruptions and management initiatives.

    Once my stepmother (who I love dearly as she raised) was dying of cancer and after becoming ill from chemo she came into our hospital. The ward I was working on had the only bed,

    I was the sole nurse for beds 1-15 and my colleague was the sole nurse for beds 16-30. We had critically ill patients, multiple admissions, hundreds of drugs to give. We were on our knees.

    I was on shift for 12 hours and did not get to spend more than 30 seconds with my mother that entire time. It broke my heart. When are you people going to understand that the nurses have very little control over how long they can spend with patients and what they can do with them.

    Hospital finance guys are intentionally short staffing the wards with the most dependent patients. The ratios medical ward nurses are working with in the UK would not be legal in other first world countries.

    People like you who blame nurses, nurse education, and a lack of compassion are only empowering these managers. They think they will get away with it because they know that the public will blame the nurses.

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  • The management in hospitals needs reducing dramatically and with immediate effect.

    Unfortunately care has deterioated and this is not always due to shortage of staff.

    The attitude of some nurses is frighting,

    I didn't train for three years to clean that up was the response of one nurse when ask to help clean a patient who had cancer of the bowel and lying in her own faeces.

    Male patient requested the toilet, can't you use a bottle, was the sister's response.The patient indicated it wasn't a bottle he required. Told he'd have to wait that patient waited over three hours.
    Just to add to this story the sister was busy at the nursing station, telling the others members of staff about the new house she has just moved into. There were eight members of nursing staff, two doctors and of course the ward aid listening.
    Hotel, you wonder sometimes whether it is more like the workhouse.

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  • Dear Anonymous,

    This is not the time or the place to argue, this is something I refuse to do. I certainly appreciate the understaffing in the NHS of nursing/midwifery staff.

    I will take my father's care to the CEO of my local hospital, not to complain, but to campaign for change. Why were we not allowed to see him for 6 days, his condition after these six days suggest neglect, there is not acceptable. If understaffing is the issue, then this needs addressing. My family would have met his basic needs if we had not been stopped from seeing him. I have already had an apology to say we should NOT have had restricted visiting as my dad was at the end of his life.

    There are procedures in place for dangergous practice, like risk assessment. If understaffing was reported more and the subsequent risks patients were subjected to, then management would have to address this issue. Less of the defensive practice and more needs to be done to change practice.

    Try to guard your heart from getting too damaged from the injustice in the NHS, if we can't support each other, who can. I will fight to see change and change can start with the passion of one person. If you focus all your anger at promoting change, then all that energy will bring change, for you and ultimately patient care.

    I do find it hard when nurses get cynical, this negative attitude does have an effect on patient care. A cynical nurse needs help too! Some comments made directly to my dad and to us about my dad were cruel and unnecessary (thats the lack of compassion I am talking about). I encourage patient's to complain where there has been an injustice, and if the government want to take 'satisfaction' as a measure of patient care then so be it. This will certainly highlight problems with staff attitudes and understaffing issues. They will have to address specific needs of patients where dissatisfaction is justified, try to view this as a positive step and try not to feel threatened. If we are doing all we can then there is no need to rise up with cynicism.

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