A new test designed to shine the spotlight on poor care has found some “shocking and eye opening” cases of maltreatment in NHS hospitals, reports suggest.
The friends and family test asks whether patients would recommend the hospital where they were treated to their loved ones. The full results are due this morning.
One of the organisations that collated the data from patients, iWantGreatCare, found that patients complained of inconsiderate staff, being unable to access food and drink for hours and unclean wards.
But some described their care as “fantastic” and praised the “courteous and efficient” manner in which they were treated.
The prime minister launched the initiative last year, saying that the simple test would help under-performing hospitals in England to “raise their game”.
iWantGreatCare, which collated reviews from 95,000 patients across 31 NHS trusts, said that it was “clear that areas for improvement remain”.
The company told the told the Daily Telegraph that the first set of findings was “shocking” and “eye-opening”.
It heard of one patient who was forced to wait for 19 hours without food or drink, nurses ordering another patient to “be quiet” despite being in agony with blood gushing from a head wound and staff “ignoring” a patient whose ankle bone was protruding through his skin.
A female patient in her 80s was not bathed for eight days and relatives of a 92-year-old woman described how she was left on trolley in a corridor and was told that she didn’t need an emergency bell and could just “call out for help”.
Neil Bacon, founder of iWantGreatCare, said: “The friends and family test is the first time we have truly known what patients are thinking in the NHS. In the past three months, iWantGreatCare has collected 95,678 reviews from 31 NHS trusts. Not only is the appetite for patients to share their experiences immense, but each review offers an opportunity for a hospital and even specific doctors to listen, learn and improve.”
“The friends and family test is already making an impact across the NHS. Walsall Trust has made changes to its beds, food and waiting process as a direct result of patient feedback.
“Nurses at that hospital now demand to read what patients are saying about them. Sherwood Forest and Blackpool trusts, despite being placed into special measures in the Keogh report, are listening to their patients to find ways to improve and have already seen a rise in their average scores. And Hull is even planning to project unedited reviews on to the walls of its hospital. The patient feedback revolution truly is here.
“The first results from the friends and family test give us a snapshot into the NHS from the eyes of the patient. Whilst the majority of patients would recommend their hospital, it is clear that areas for improvement remain. We are already seeing that detailed, written feedback collected in real time acts as a smoke detector for hospitals, allowing improvements to be made before catastrophe strikes.”
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “The publication of the friends and family test results on Tuesday will be an historic moment for the NHS - we will know what patients think about almost every ward, at every hospital, across the country. This simple test will throw a spotlight on both good and poor care, and sends a clear signal to every NHS organisation that patients must come first every time.
“Where there are pockets of poor care in our NHS, I am determined we will find them and root them out. The best way to rebuild trust is transparency and honesty about problems, followed by decisiveness in fixing them.”