Just over 60% of inpatients believe there are “always or nearly always” enough nurses on duty in the NHS, according to the latest results from an annual independent survey.
The results for 2015 show an increase in the number of respondents who felt there was adequate nurse staffing – from 60% in 2014 to 62% this year.
“NHS staff work tirelessly and these improvements are testament to their commitment”
One in 10 respondents in the 2015 survey of 83,000 patients said there were “rarely or never enough” nurses.
Improvements in patients’ confidence and trust in nurses were also revealed in the NHS Adult Inpatient Survey 2015, which was carried out by the Picker Institute on behalf of the regulator the Care Quality Commission.
It found 79% always felt confident in the nurse treating them in 2015, compared with 74% in 2011.
However, the situation was less positive for patients with a mental health problem or and learning disability.
Only 67% of patients with a mental health condition and 71% of patients with a learning disability had confidence in nurses caring for them, compared with 80% of those without a mental health condition and 79% without a learning disability.
More patients this year also said they always understood nurses when receiving an answer to an important question – 71% in 2015, compared with 69% the year before.
However, again respondents with a mental health condition or a learning disability were significantly less likely to have had a positive experience than those without these conditions.
Meanwhile, fewer patients reported nurses talked in front of them ”as though they were not there”. This year 83% said this had not happened, up from 81% in 2014.
However, overall the survey found people’s experiences of post-treatment discharge planning were “less encouraging”.
More than 40% of people said they were not told about medication side effects to watch for when they went home, and 62% said hospital staff did not completely take their family or home situation into account when planning their discharge process.
“Nevertheless…while strides have been made in hospital treatment, the results around discharge planning and self-management are cause for concern”
Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Picker Institute, said: “It is fantastic to see so many improvements in people’s experiences of hospital care.
“It is particularly encouraging that some of the most notable improvements are in areas that are of particular importance to patients, including communication, involvement, and respect for people as individuals.”
“NHS staff work tirelessly and these improvements are not only testament to their commitment but a reflection of the efforts made in the last year to understand and improve on 2014 findings,” he said.
“Nevertheless, the survey highlights areas that still need improvement,” he said. “An effective person centred service is streamlined and continuous, and while strides have been made in hospital treatment, the results around discharge planning and self-management are cause for concern.
“For patients to have the best chance of recovery – and for providers to minimise the risk of readmissions – patients need to leave hospital with good, clear information and understanding about their ongoing care and medicines,” said Mr McCulloch.
He added: “Too often this is not happening, and improvement is needed to benefit patients and the NHS alike.”