Sunday 23 July 2017

One in five has seen poor care in nursing homes or homecare services, according to poll

Six in 10 people have witnessed 'poor standards in health service'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

More than six in ten people say they have witnessed poor standards in the health service including physical and emotional abuse, according to a new Red C poll.

Of those who saw poor provision in nursing homes, 36pc witnessed physical or emotional abuse while more than a quarter said it happened in homecare services.

The worrying findings are revealed in a major new national opinion poll carried out by Red C on behalf of HIQA, the patient safety watchdog, to mark its 10th anniversary.

It was found that 47pc of people witnessed poor standards in public hospitals in the past five years with waiting times and delays the most common grievances.

The poll also found that there was widespread misunderstanding of the areas of health and social care services that are independently regulated or monitored.

Some 83pc of people mistakenly believe private hospitals are independently regulated or monitored.

And 76pc wrongly think that homecare services are independently regulated or monitored.

The findings showed:

  • Strong support for respecting the rights of vulnerable people and for accountability and independent oversight of health and social care services. 96pc agreed that it was important that the rights of vulnerable people in long-term residential settings are respected, 95pc want clear accountability for poor standards.
  • There is widespread misunderstanding of which services are currently independently regulated or monitored. For example, when asked whether services were independently regulated or monitored, 83pc believed that private hospitals were, 80pc believed that primary care centres were, and 76% believed homecare services were. However, none of these services are currently independently regulated or monitored.
  • People want to be treated with dignity at all times when accessing health and social services and have their  privacy is respected and maintained.They want clear standards and guidance in place to help staff to provide safe and effective care.
  • There is strong support for the independent regulation of a range of services. Of those polled, 63pc were aware of HIQA. However, there was much stronger awareness of HIQA among over 65s than among 18-24 year olds.

HIQA’s Chief Executive Phelim Quinn commented: "As HIQA marks its 10th year, it is timely to look at the public’s attitudes towards health and social care in order to inform our future work driving better, safer care.

"Unfortunately, it is still too common for the public to witness the poor provision of health and social care services. Many of the areas where poor provision is witnessed are currently not independently regulated.

"The poll shows that regulating these services enjoys broad public support. Only through the extension of regulation will we get the safe and effective services that the public desires and deserves.

"The poll also shows that there is widespread misunderstanding of which areas of health and social care are currently independently regulated and monitored. Given the results, there may be some surprise among the public to discover that there is currently no independent regulation of private hospitals or homecare services.

"Indeed, the poll shows that when informed that these services are not independently regulated, there is widespread support for it to be introduced," he continued.

"Furthermore, the results of the poll show strong recognition of HIQA; however, it is primarily our role in regulation that is known. It is clear that we need to work harder to ensure that the public is aware of our work in evaluating the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of health technologies and in ensuring the effective use of health information.

"We also need to do more to ensure that younger people are aware of our work."

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