99 per cent are happy with NHS hospital care (in a survey where only 10 per cent actually responded)

Usefulness of data from post-Stafford research already called into question

Health Reporter

NHS wards have a 99.2 per cent satisfaction rate with patients, according to the first nationwide survey to ask patients whether they would recommend a ward to their friends and family.

Click HERE to view graphic

However, with barely more than 10 per cent of patients responding to the survey, the usefulness of the data - a cornerstone of the Government's response to the Stafford Hospital care scandal - has already been called into question.

4,500 hospital wards in England were given a rating from -100 to +100 based on patients' responses on how likely they would be to recommend them to friends and family.

One A&E department, Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, received a negative rating in the latest data, from June this year. 36 individual hospital wards nationwide were also rated negatively in June, 38 in May and 66 in April.

The health secretary Jeremy Hunt called the survey an historic moment for the NHS.

"This simple survey will give us the information we need to celebrate the best in our NHS and root out poor care," Hunt said. "By making these ratings public we're giving patients the power to choose the best place for their care - and driving other hospitals to raise their game."

There were, however, broad variations in the number of patients that responded to the survey, ranging from just 2.7 per cent of patients at East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust, to 100 per cent at the private Parkside Hospital in London.

NHS England said that low response rates could have a "dramatically disproportionate impact on outcomes" but anticipates that the survey will become more "robust" as greater patient numbers are encouraged to take part.

Tim Kelsey, NHS England's director of patients and information, said: "There are some home truths here and everyone will expect those trusts who have large numbers of their patients choosing not to recommend their services to respond as quickly as possible."

However, critics said that the information collected by the survey was meaningless.

"The way in which the data for the friends and family test is collected varies widely and is open to gaming," said Jocelyn Cornwall, director of the Point of Care Foundation, which campaigns for better patient care. "People who respond are not part of a random sample, but are self-selecting or worse, are encouraged to respond by staff. Clearly there is a temptation for staff to encourage responses from patients who they feel will respond positively, especially as a positive result is linked to financial reward."

Government guidance on implementing the friends and family surveys, which are backed by the Prime Minister, recommend that healthcare commissioners "reward high standards".

The surveys were rolled out in hospitals in April following a year of pilots in the Midlands and the east of England. There are plans to extend them to GP surgeries, maternity services and mental health and community services by the end of 2014.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said that action should be taken at wards with low scores, regardless of low response rates.

"Any one patient having a bad experience is one too many and where this emerges in the data, trust boards and their leaders must commit to taking prompt action," said Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's chief executive and general secretary."

In a statement from Portugal, where he is on holiday, David Cameron said: "I am determined to give patients a far greater voice within the NHS as a way of highlighting the best and worst of care within our hospitals. With the friends and family test, we now have a single measure that looks at the quality of care across the country. I want the NHS to put patient satisfaction at the heart of what they do and expect action to be taken at hospitals where patients and staff say standards are not good enough."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there