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."

Sport
tennisLive: Follow all the updates from Melbourne as Murray faces Czech Tomas Berdych in the semi-final
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
musicYou'll have to ask Taylor Swift first
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Joel Grey, now 82, won several awards for his role in Cabaret
people
Sport
Harry Kane celebrates scoring the opening goal for Spurs
footballLive: All the latest transfer news as deadline day looms
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: Compliance Assistant

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Agent / QA Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join an est...

    Recruitment Genius: C# / XAML Developer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity for a talented...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Project Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This established Digital Agency based in East ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness