Hospital trusts should not neglect efforts to improve patient experience, as it can lead to savings and also improve quality, according to the NHS Confederation.
Well informed patients who feel they are listened to and are comfortable in their surroundings are less likely to develop complications or be readmitted, the confederation says in its report Feeling Better? Improving patient experience in hospital.
Drawing on evidence from the US, it says institutions that score highly for patient centred care often have lower costs per case and shorter lengths of stay.
Improving patient experience can also lead to better records for mortality and patient safety, the report says, but notes that a “big cultural shift” is needed in many NHS hospitals to deliver a better focus on patient experience.
The report says patient experience has been “consistently relegated” by trust boards, which have focused on areas such as delivering efficient systems.
Confederation deputy director of policy Jo Webber said: “We hear a great deal about the need to focus on the patient but we need to be honest about what that means and whether our organisations are really achieving the kinds of standards of patient experience they should be.”
The report does highlight how some trust boards have improved patient experience.
For example, it notes initiatives at Whipps Cross University Hospital Trust including “in your shoes” events where all levels of staff speak to patients on a one-to-one basis about their experience.