New data published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) showed the majority of respondents (75%) rated their overall experience of hospital care as eight out of ten or higher.
The data came from the latest national survey of hospital inpatients published by the CQC, which captured the views and experience of more than 73,000 people who stayed in one of 137 acute and specialist NHS trusts in England for at least one night during late 2020.
Key findings from the data included showing most people had confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them, feeling their questions were answered clearly by staff and the hospital ward or room they were staying was clean.
The national adult inpatient survey has been carried out annual since 2002.
For the 2020 iteration, due to the pandemic, respondents were able to complete the questionnaire online as well as by post for the first time. This is believed to have been responsible for some of the increased response rates seen from certain groups, including those under the age of 35 and those from black and minority ethnic groups – both of which have been underrepresented in the survey data in previous years.
Of those surveyed, most people (85%) said they had “always” been treated with dignity and respect during their hospital stay and this was the case for Covid (84%) and non-Covid (85%) patients.
Most respondents felt they “always” received answers they could understand when asking doctors (75%) and nurses (77%) questions about their care.
When asked about how clean their hospital room or ward was, 98% said it was either “very clean” or “fairly clean” and three quarters (75%) said they “always” got the help the needed from staff to wash and keep themselves clean.
However, the national survey findings also revealed some less positive responses around the information provided to them at the point of discharge – particularly around medication and how to manage their condition or accessing further support once home.
One in five respondents (21%) said their family or home situation had not been considered by staff when being discharged, while almost a third (30%) said they were not given any written information about what they should do or not do after leaving hospital.
Of those who were given medication to take home, only 28% were told about the possible side effects to watch out for and only 55% were given an explanation how to take it.
Just under a quarter of respondents (24%) also said they were not told who they could contact if they were worried about their condition or treatment after leaving hospital, while 21% said they did not receive enough support to help them recover or manage their condition once back at home.
Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals said: “The survey captures the views and experiences of people in hospital during November last year. At that time inpatient admissions were slightly lower compared to November 2019, but the number of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients was on the increase as a second wave of Covid infections began to take hold.
“Given this context and the unprecedented pressure on staff it is excellent to see such positive feedback in a number of areas. The high levels of satisfaction reported by so many people reflect the tremendous efforts of healthcare professionals on the front line and their dedication and resilience is to be commended.
“Patient feedback is incredibly important in helping shape how care is delivered and the survey results provide an incredibly useful guide to where improvements can be made. More can be done to ensure all patients are provided with sufficient information and have access support to help them recover and manage their condition outside of the hospital setting.
“I would like NHS trusts to reflect on their individual survey results to help them pinpoint what individual changes they can make to drive improvements. But it is not just hospital trusts that can take learning from the results.
“As pressures on services and staff continue to mount, ensuring the best possible experience throughout the entirety of the patient journey is a task that needs input from all parts of the health and care system.
“To this end, we must support services to continue in their efforts to collaborate locally and to build a truly integrated system approach going forward.”