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Most younger patients report good experiences of hospital care

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The overwhelming majority of children and young people who stay in hospital overnight or are seen as a day case are happy with the standard of care they receive, a major survey has indicated.

Their parents are slightly less impressed but the majority are still generally happy with hospital care standards, suggest the results of the 2016 Children and Young People’s Survey.

“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of hospital staff working with children and young people”

Ted Baker

The results from the 132 acute NHS trusts that took part in the survey were published on Tuesday by the Care Quality Commission. It was carried out for the CQC by the Picker Institute.

The survey results reveal what over 34,000 children and young people under the age of 16 and their parents and carers thought about the hospital care they received in November and December 2016.

Survey groups respondents were divided into parents of children aged seven years and under, eight to 11 year olds and their parents, and 12-15 year olds and their parents.

Overall, 91% of children and young people aged eight to 15 said they had been looked after “very well” or “quite well”, and 87% felt that the hospital staff looking after them were “always” friendly.

“It’s important to note that there are different needs and preferences among children and young people”

Jenny King

In addition, 86% of children and young people aged eight to 15 said staff had talked to them about how they would be cared for and 92% said that staff answered their questions.

For those who had a procedure, 93% said they received an explanation beforehand about what would happen and, among those who experienced pain, 80% felt staff did all they could to help.

Most young people aged 12-15 (90%) were able to talk to a doctor or nurse without their parent or carer being there if they wanted to, noted the CQC’s report on the survey findings.

Meanwhile, 81% of all parents and carers surveyed rated their child’s overall experience as eight or above out of ten and 91% said that staff agreed a plan for their child’s care with them.

For those aged seven and under, 83% of parents or carers considered their child had “always” been well looked and 85% felt they, personally, were “always” treated with respect and dignity.

Results were even higher for parent views on cleanliness, care plans and drug information, though some were unhappy at not being able to prepare food for their child.

The survey found that, across all child age groups, 97% of parents and carers said that the hospital room or ward where their child was treated was “very clean” or “quite clean”.

“We’re delighted to have achieved the highest banding for both age categories”

Jo Thomas

In addition, 92% said they were given enough information about new medication prescribed to their child in hospital, and 91% said that staff agreed a plan for their child’s care with them.

However, while the majority of responses reflected a positive experience, the survey also identified some areas where NHS trusts could improve.

For example, 36% of children aged eight to 11 said they did not always understand what staff said when they spoke to them and 21% did not feel involved in decisions about their care or treatment.

Also, 28% of parents and carers felt that staff did not “definitely” know how to care for their child’s individual or special needs.

The results strongly suggested that experiences differed between different age groups, particularly around play and activities, and communications between healthcare staff and young patients.

For example, almost double the number of 12 to 15 year olds (21%) reported not having enough things to do in hospital, compared to eight to 11 year old respondents (12%).

Play and activities also appear to be of concern to the parents of younger children, with 26% of parents of under sevens saying staff did not play with their child at all during their hospital stay but they would have liked this to have happened.

However, Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said that, overall, the NHS “should be pleased” with the survey findings, which showed most children and young people were happy with their care.

Ted Baker

edward ted baker

Ted Baker

“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of hospital staff working with children and young people across the country,” said Professor Baker.

“It also reflects the findings from our inspections, which show the quality of children and young people’s services is often rated higher than any other core service within a hospital,” he noted.

But he added that hospitals should examine the results of this survey, together with the CQC’s inspection reports and “take steps to improve their care where necessary”.

The CQC said it would also use the findings as part of its monitoring of the quality of children and young people’s services and to plan and target our inspections.

Jenny King, chief research officer at Picker, added: “It’s important to note that there are different needs and preferences among children and young people and it’s key that trusts acknowledge this when designing and improving their services.”

“Understanding directly from children and young people what matters to them in the care that they receive is a central principle to providing high quality person-centred care,” she said.

This reseach represents the second children and young people’s survey to be carried out as part of the NHS patient survey programme. The first was carried out two years ago. However, the Children and Young People’s Survey 2014 involved fewer respondents and asked a smaller range of questions.

“We conducted a similar survey in 2014, but cannot compare the results of the two surveys as changes were made to the survey’s methodology,” noted the CQC in its report.

Burns hospital hails top result in national child patient survey

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Most younger patients report good experiences of hospital care

Scott Howes (right), senior staff nurse on Peanut children’s ward

Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which provides reconstructive surgery, burns care and rehabilitation services, revealed that it came top in the survey.

The hospital, which mostly covers Sussex, Surrey and Kent, was the only acute trust in the country to achieve the highest rating in two age categories in the 2016 children and young people’s survey.

Two scores were given for each trust – one for those under seven years old and one for eight to 15 years. It achieved the highest band in both categories – the only acute trust to come top for both.

Jo Thomas, the trust’s director of nursing, said: “We’re delighted to have achieved the highest banding for both age categories in this latest children and young people’s survey.

“I’d like to thank all of our staff, particularly those on our children’s ward, Peanut, for their commitment and dedication to the children and young people we care for,” she said.

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