Patients Rate Local Hospital Trust Worst In Country

Healthcare Commission publishes patients’ survey results

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Patient and Public Involvement Forum

Ealing Hospital has came bottom of the table in the largest survey of patients staying overnight in English NHS hospitals. Other local hospital trusts including West Middlesex, Hammersmith Hospitals and Chelsea & Westminster fared better all ranking around the middle of the table.

The Commission noted ‘striking variations’ in the responses of patients at different NHS trusts, suggesting that some trusts must take more action if they are to achieve the standards of the best. For example, 77 percent of patients rated their care as “excellent” in the best performing trust, but only 24 percent in the lowest performing ie. Ealing.

The survey, coordinated for the Commission by the Picker Institute, asked just under 76,000 recent adult inpatients at 165 hospital trusts in England about cleanliness, quality of food, information on treatment and the use of mixed-sex facilities. The Commission says the results will help trusts to understand the views of their patients and respond to any concerns.

A big concern to patients at Ealing was cleanliness with 25% saying doctors failed to wash their hands after examinations. They also complained that bathrooms and toilets were dirty.

Other criticisms included admission delays, mixed-sex wards, help with eating meals and food quality.

Paul Reeves, Ealing's director of nursing who is leading the improvement programme, said: "The national patients' survey is carried out once a year and the results published this week relate to a survey of patients from last August.

"We are now carrying out surveys of patients on our wards every week to gain up-to-date information from them which we can act on quickly.

"So far the main concerns have centred around cleanliness, food, and the quality of communication - both written and verbal.

"We are now drawing up a series of action plans to address these issues and are publicising to our staff and patients what their concerns are and how we are going to do something about them."

Anna Walker, the Commission's Chief Executive, said: "The government has made absolutely plain that it wants the NHS to listen to the views of patients and respond to their concerns. That is why this survey is so important. It gives the most comprehensive picture available of how patients feel about NHS hospitals. And importantly, it allows comparisons between trusts across the country.

"...The survey also shows that in some hospitals the NHS is struggling to deliver on some of the basics of hospital care. There are striking variations in performance in key areas such as providing single-sex accommodation and giving people help when they need it. Those performing poorly must learn from those who perform well."

ealingtoday asked subscribers to send in their views and opinion was mixed:

I visited Ealing hospital recently to see an elderly patient and was impressed by the steps taken to keep the place clean. Today I went to Outpatients and walking up to the entrance was appalled by the disgusting filthy roadway that leads into both outpatients and A&E.   I guess it has not been cleaned for years – signs of old vomit stains, and goodness knows what else – really horrid and does not incline you to think “Clean” or to respect any hygiene policies that the hospital might have.  Everyone entering this part of the hospital must carry dirt and probably disease on their shoes into shared clinics and wards and it must be so depressing for staff and patients alike to see everyday, and does nothing to engender a feeling of cleanliness.

Pauline Davies

I have 5 children between the ages of 1 and 9 and have had them all at Ealing Hospital.  My experiences, very different in each case, have been excellent from the pre-natal to the post-natal stages.  I have had normal deliveries for 4 and a Casearian for one.    The midwives and specialists have been excellent but they are extremely busy and have so much to attend to.  The language and cultural barriers are very evident, with many mothers not understanding basic English and one can see this is very frustrating for the patients and the staff.  Whilst appearing abrupt at times the staff were always patient in their attempts to explain things and helpful.  Communication is key to a positive experience.  If you can't question the myriad things that are being done or communicate effectively with the staff, misunderstanding or fear is inevitable.  Obviously, having been through the experience so many times I have had the benefit of familiarity.  Perhaps for some, the matter-of-factness of the staff, who have so many procedures to perform, is a little unnerving but I am sure it's due more to their own uncertainties and not knowing what to expect.  I would have no hesitation in using the Maternity Department again.    However, the unit looks tired and could do with a decorative makeover. Also the Indian menus are much nicer than the others!!   Sigla Trowbridge

our son was born at ealing on boxing day. I do not recognise the place from the description given in the report. At all times, from antenatal care right through to the birth and post-natal care we found the level of care provided, the professionalism of the staff and the facilities provided excellent. We were fully informed at all stages about the choices on offer and their implications and the staff went out of their way to educate and inform us about the process.

simon moore

I had an overnight stay at Ealing hospital recently and was very 
impressed not only with the medical care but with the standards of 

Viv Ellis

I stayed two nights when I had my son seven weeks ago and was impressed with the standards of medical care, and even with the food, but it was the poor level of cleanliness that clinched my decision to discharge myself early. I even took photos of my bedsheets, (not changed after giving birth) to prove the point, but don't think it fair to inflict them on readers! Our room did get a clean first thing in the morning but at that visit the cleaner signed the sign off sheet for two further visits that day that never took place.

Charlie Canniff

Health Trust

Score (out of 100)

Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust
Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust
West Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust
Ealing Hospital NHS Trust

To find out more about the survey go to Healthcare Commission Survey

May 15, 2008