Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

NHS patients ‘ignored and sidelined’, says report by The Patients Association

Click on the link   Why our NHS should listen and be human  to download The Patients Association report

The Patients Association report identified a number of failings in how the health system interacts with patients

Patients feel “ignored and sidelined” by the NHS and too many vulnerable people experience unacceptable standards of care within the health system, according to a report commissioned by the Patients Association. The report, called “Why our NHS should listen and be human”, lambasted the lack of compassion and information many patients experienced when dealing with health professionals.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Too often patients and their families are treated without compassion, are uninformed about treatment and next steps and feel ignored and side-lined when they raise concerns or complaints.  “The NHS is failing many of the most vulnerable members of society and patients and the public have told us about inconsistencies in the provision of care, poor standards of care and compassion, and a lack of openness and transparency in communication between healthcare staff, patients and their families,” she added. The report found that patients were scared to report problems because of “fear of recriminations,” despite the fact that the majority of people who raise concerns are motivated by a desire to improve conditions for other patients, not to get staff in trouble. It is especially important for patients to be kept informed about how their treatment will progress, but many felt that they were either left in the dark or not listened to.

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Patients fear being victimised when they complain to NHS and those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff

Patients who dare to complain about poor NHS care are made to feel frightened and left exhausted and disheartened, a report warns. Many of those who raised concerns were confronted by hostile staff who denied doing anything wrong. Others said they feared that pursuing the complaint would cause staff to treat them even worse out of spite.  The Patients Association report found that half of complaints were not handled well and warned that the culture of secrecy in the NHS had barely changed since the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal, in which hundreds died due to neglect. An inquiry 18 months ago led by Sir Robert Francis QC called for sweeping reforms to the Health Service to make it more transparent. But the charity says that, based on patients’ experiences, there is little evidence of a culture shift.  Figures show that more than 3,300 complaints are made against NHS hospitals and GP surgeries by patients and their families every week – up by 5 per cent in a year, partly because the public are becoming more inclined to speak up. The Patients Association surveyed 1,200 people who had all complained about poor care experienced by themselves or a loved-one. Nearly half said the issue was poorly handled and a quarter said staff were unhelpful or defensive. Half were concerned that following up the complaint would make staff deliberately treat them or their loved-ones badly

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Copy and paste the link to download The Patients Association New Complaints Charter

One year on from the Clwyd-Hart report, NHS complaints system still not fit for purpose, despite numerous calls for reform.

Complaints distressing, difficult and frequently produce little result, say patients…



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