Sunday 22 September 2019

Long delays, hurried doctors and food emerge as top patient grievances in new survey

More than one third said they were not properly informed of the side effects of medication before being sent home. (Stock photo)
More than one third said they were not properly informed of the side effects of medication before being sent home. (Stock photo)

Eilish O’Regan

Long A&E trolley waits, hurried doctors and being discharged home from hospital without enough advice on drug side effects have emerged as top patient grievances in a new survey.

Some 5,997 patients – 69pc of those who responded – waited more than six hours on a trolley before getting a bed.

More than one third said they were not properly informed of the side effects of medication before being sent home.

Others complained that staff were too rushed to speak to them about their concerns on ward.

Some 27pc also gave hospital food a lukewarm review saying it was “poor” or “fair”.

However, the National Patient Experience Survey also found that  84pc of patients – equivalent to 13,000 – said they had a good or a very good overall experience in hospital.

The Department of Health commissioned survey, launched by Health Minister Simon Harris today, was carried out by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa).

It is the largest survey of its kind in Ireland and  ran for the second time in May of this year.

The survey asked patients about their experiences of hospital care in order to find out what is working well in our health service, and what needs to be improved.

Rachel Flynn, Director of the National Patient Experience Survey Programme, said: “The majority of patients, once they were admitted to a ward, spoke positively of hospital care. However, their experiences in the emergency department were less favourable. While improvements in the discharge processes were identified, there is still room for improvement in this area.

“The results of the survey indicate that patients want staff to provide them and their families with more information about their treatment, and would like to be involved in decisions about their care and discharge. We must now listen carefully to what patients have said in this survey and work to deliver a more patient-centred approach to healthcare.”

The minister said:“The National Patient Experience Survey is an important piece of work. It gives policy makers and those working in the health service an invaluable insight into the experiences of patients in our hospitals.

“The overwhelming response shows patients want to have their voices heard and it is absolutely essential the health service listens and responds when they tell their stories of care.

 "I am delighted to see that there have been improvements in the discharge and transfer process and in care on the ward from last year’s survey, which shows that the health service is responding to the results of last year’s survey. There is still room for improvement but we are determined to drive reform through Sláintecare and it is vital patients remain at the heart of that change."

Liam Woods, HSE National Director of Acute Services, said: “84pc of our patients had either a very good or good experience in hospital and this is very encouraging for us all, including our staff, who have worked extremely hard over the last year to implement quality improvement plans in response to last year’s survey findings.

Their enthusiasm, encouragement and commitment is very much appreciated and as evidenced in this year’s results, is already making a positive improvement to patient experience in our hospitals.”

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