Patients do not see point of complaining, survey finds - Guardian
Extracts from report published in The Guardian on Friday October 5, 2007:
"Half the patients treated in NHS hospitals are dissatisfied with the standard of care, a survey by the consumer organisation Which? reveals today. But it found few patients complain to NHS staff about inedible food, lack of cleanliness or poor organisation on the wards.
Among those who were dissatisfied, over a third thought raising an issue would not make any difference. Almost a quarter said nothing because they "expected their hospital stay to be like that" and 12% feared that a complaint would provoke reprisals and compromise their care.
Which? said doctors, managers and politicians interpreted the low level of complaints as evidence of patient satisfaction. But the survey suggested they were fooling themselves.
Nick Stace, of Which?, said: "We've identified a deadlock in the system that's led to a real complacency culture existing in the NHS. It's no surprise that problems with food, cleanliness and organisation of care crop up time and time again when the NHS isn't responding to patients' needs."
The survey of 1,000 recent inpatients found 17% were asked their views while in hospital. Only a quarter were happy with how their comments were handled. But a parallel survey of 250 staff found 99% wanted to hear about their patients' concerns and 64% said patients did not give enough feedback.
Mr Stace said: "The NHS needs a complete culture shift so that patients are encouraged to provide feedback throughout their time in hospital - and assured that their comments will make a difference."
He said Which? was launching a campaign calling on politicians and the NHS to "start listening"."
"The report quoted a patient with a broken jaw who could only drink through a straw, but was given a standard meal.
Another former patient reported: "One guy had bladder surgery and was struggling to walk. He asked a nurse for some water and she barked at him, 'Go get it for yourself. I'm not your mother.' ""
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