Questions have been raised about how trusts and regulators should use patient feedback, after findings from the latest annual inpatient survey appeared to contradict inspection reports.

Seven trusts scored significantly worse than average on questions in the inpatient survey, published last week by the Care Quality Commission, about the cleanliness of hospital rooms, wards, toilets and bathrooms.

But CQC inspectors raised similar concerns at only two of the trusts and found no evidence to suggest any of the organisations had breached a regulation aimed at protecting people from healthcare-associated infections.

Some trusts are privately concerned about this “mismatch” and question whether patient information should be treated on a par with other data.

Picker Institute Europe policy associate Don Redding said: “Cleanliness is one of the most important areas in determining whether patients are satisfied with the service.

“There’s a real need to continue developing the usefulness of patient experience data, for example by using bigger samples.”

A CQC spokeswoman said all trusts had since addressed any concerns. Patient information would not necessarily lead to a trust being given a red rating in the quality and risk profiles being developed, she added.

Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust acting chief nurse Jennie Negus told HSJ it was important to “triangulate” different sets of data such as audits, survey results and inspection reports.

All seven trusts said they were addressing the survey findings related to cleanliness.

HSJ’s forum Measuring and Improving the Patient Experience is on 29-30 June in London.

HSJ is running a free video masterclass on Health Checks For All? on 28 June.