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Inpatients survey reveals 20% not clear which nurse in charge of care

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The number of inpatients who believe there are “always or nearly always” enough nurses on shift has declined slightly since last year, while almost 20% do not know who is in charge of their care, results from an independent NHS survey have shown.

The Care Quality Commission’s 2016 Adult Inpatient Survey, published this week, revealed 61% of the 77,850 people taking part believed the health service had sufficient nurses during their stay.

In 2015’s survey, 62% of the 83,000 respondents believed this was the case, marking the best result for this question in the past decade.

For the first time, patients were this year asked if they knew which nurse was in charge of looking after them.

A total of 19% said they did not know, 31% said they sometimes did, and 49% said they always knew who their designated nurse was.

Meanwhile, there has been a slight decline in the number of patients who said they understood what their nurse meant when they asked an important question – from 71% who said they “always” did last year, to 70% in 2016.

However confidence in nurses has continued to increase among patients.

Eight out of ten respondents in 2016 said they always trusted their nurse – up from 79% the year before.

In addition, there has been a decrease in the proportion of patients who said that nurses talked in front of them as if they were not there.

In 2016, 83% said nurses did not do this, compared to 82% the year before.

”Declines in patients’ experiences of involvement in their own care and in co-ordination when leaving hospital…is a concern”

Jenny King

The Picker Institute, which conducts the survey on behalf of the CQC, said this year’s results showed confidence in clinical staff remained high but noted there were declines in the number of patients who felt involved in their care, and also the number who were able to find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about their worries and fears.

“From our research we know that communication, involvement and continuity of care are all critical aspects of person centred care. Results continue to show that patients value NHS staff and report good communication in some areas which is positive to see,” said Jenny King, chief research officer at the Picker Institute.

“Nevertheless, the survey highlights declines in patients’ experiences of involvement in their own care and in co-ordination when leaving hospital and this is a concern.

“It is widely reported that the NHS is under pressure and the results highlight a risk that improvements of the past could be lost if trusts and policy makers fail to keep the provision of high quality person centred care a top priority,” she added.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • At the start of my shift in charge I would go round check on everyone and let the patients know I was in charge of the shift if they needed anything to ask for me. It worked.
    Prior to P2K nurses were 'responsible for the entire ward and were expected to know about each and every patient. Name age diagnosis discharge plan.
    If there is one think that is likely to have me explode as a patients relative is asking a nurse for some information that they are not 'their patient' if you are lucky they will tell you who is and if you are lucky they will come find you.
    My mother died in agony because the nurse in charge would not take responsibility , delegating it to a junior staff nurse. 16 hours to get a syringe driver and anothe 12 to get it set up, only to find it empty alarming its head off and a nurse again saying she was not her patient. The chief nurse also refused to acknowledge this was poor care for a dying patient. Saying my expectations were too high. Nursing needs to move away from patient allocation when this sort of thing is standard practice staff wouldn't say it in my earshot on my ward

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