Scores on the doors

Continuing her series of articles on Patient Safety, Joanna Lloyd summarises the findings of the NHS Inpatient Survey 2009 from results published by CQC on 19th May 2010.


The CQC has published the results of the 2009 NHS Inpatient Survey covering 162 hospital trusts in England.  The survey questions related to essential standards of quality and safety that trusts must meet under the new registration system that came into operation on 1 April.  The information will be used to monitor performance in the NHS.

Click here to view the results.

Improvements were apparent in that in 2009 overall:

  • 44% of people rated their care as “excellent”,
  • 35% “very good”,
  • 13% “good”,
  • 5% “fair”
  • 2% “poor”. 

This shows improvement since 2002, when the figures were 38%, 36%, 17%, 7% and 2% respectively.  64% of patients rated their hospital room as “very clean”, up from 60% in 2008 and 56% in 2002.  The Commission said this mirrored year-on-year improvements in all questions related to infection control, such as whether bathrooms were clean and if staff washed their hands.

However, the survey showed significant room for improvement concerning the information given to people about medicines.  The proportion of patients who said they were not given enough information about the purpose of medicine they were given to take home has steadily increased, from 7% in 2002 to 8% in 2008 and 9% in 2009.  In 2009, 45% of patients said they had not been given enough information about potential side effects of medication, up from 44% in 2008.

The Commission said the NHS must also address the lack of help for patients to eat.  Almost one in five patients (18%) said they did not get enough help to eat their meals if they needed it.  Cynthia Bower, CQC’s Chief Executive, described these failings as "fundamentals of care" that the NHS must tackle.

The Commission uses the survey results to monitor performance in the NHS.  CQC analyses the survey results alongside a range of other information, such as findings from inspections, data on mortality and infection rates and intelligence from other organisations, to monitor compliance with the new essential standards of quality and safety and to help determine where further regulatory action is needed.  The Coalition programme for government committed to strengthen the role of the Care Quality Commission as a quality inspectorate with the role of  Monitor changing into that of an economic regulator that will oversee aspects of access, competition and price-setting in the NHS.   

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