Dignity, respect and privacy in hospitals

To understand the quality of services that the NHS delivers, it is important to understand what people think about their care and treatment. The outpatient and inpatient surveys ask users if they felt they were treated with respect and dignity.

What are the views of inpatients on whether they were treated with dignity and respect?

Responses to this question in the survey have been remarkably consistent since 2005. In 2015, 84% of patients reported they felt treated with respect and dignity during their stay in hospital. The percentage of inpatients who felt they were not treated with dignity and respect during their hospital stay had remained constant at 3% since 2005, and fell to 2% in 2015.

Updated August 2016.

What are the views of outpatients on whether they were treated with dignity and respect?

The majority (89%) of outpatients surveyed in 2011 felt that they were treated with dignity and respect at all times. This was a small increase on the 2009 result (87%) which had not changed since the first time the survey took place in 2003. This increase was offset by a decrease in the percentage of patients who reported they were treated with dignity and respect some of the time between 2009 and 2011, and there has been no change across all years in the percentage of patients who reported that they were not treated with dignity and respect.
The outpatient survey ceased in 2011.

Did hospital patients feel they were given enough privacy when being examined or treated?

The proportion of inpatients and those being seen in A&E who felt they were given enough privacy when being examined or treated has varied little over time. For inpatients, the proportion who always felt they were given enough privacy has increased from 88% in 2005 to 91% in 2015. There was more variation for those seen in A&E. The proportion who felt they had definitely been given enough privacy decreased from 81% in 2005 to a low of 75% in 2010 and has since increased to 79% in 2015. Each year, 2% of respondents said they did not receive enough privacy.

While the answer categories are slightly different for each question it is interesting to note that those who were seen in A&E responded more negatively compared to inpatients. With the proportion feeling they definitely had enough privacy being on average 12% lower for those in A&E compared to inpatients.

Updated August 2016.

How has the rate of mixed-sex accommodation breaches changed?

The Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2012/13 highlighted that mixed-sex accommodation (MSA) should continue to be reduced to ensure that people have a positive experience of care. A MSA breach is any unjustified mixing of sleeping accommodation. MSA is closely tied with dignity and privacy for patients in hospitals. The rate of MSA breaches has been decreasing over time and has remained very low, below one per 1,000 finished consultant episodes, since July 2011.

Updated August 2016.

Did hospital inpatients feel staff helped them control their pain?

Much like other questions in the Adult Inpatient Survey, there is very little variation in responses over time. The proportion of inpatients who definitely felt hospital staff did all they could to help control their pain was around 71% in all years. The proportion who felt hospital staff 'to some extent' did all they could to control their pain was around 23% in all years and those felt they didn't get support was around 6% in all years.

Updated August 2016.

About this data

These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey and the Outpatient Survey (which was discontinued in 2011).

The results from 2005-14 were taken from analysis undertaken in November 2015 on the trends over the period. To enable fairer comparisons between years, data was standardised to account for demographic differences in respondents. All data points were adjusted to the age, gender and admission route profile of respondents in 2014. 2015 results are standardised to the demographic profile of 2015 in terms of age/sex/route of admission. This is acceptable when comparing year-on-year results because of the relatively limited annual change in the demographic profile of the overall set of respondents. However, over longer periods, the small annual changes accumulate and need to be taken into account, and further standardisation needs to be applied (see more).

The results (percentages) from each provider are given equal weight in calculating the England results. Some providers have a higher response rate than others and would therefore have a greater influence over the England average.

To correct this, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) applies a ‘weight’ to the data. As a result of applying this weight, the responses from each provider have an equal influence over the England average, regardless of differences in response rates between providers.

Results (percentages) are presented from CQC's national reports and have been rounded up or down to whole numbers. If two response categories are added together (such as ‘very good’ and ’good’), the resulting figure will be slightly different to the figures reported elsewhere, because these used results to at least two decimal places. Likewise, columns may not add up to exactly 100% due to the rounding.

For more information please see NHS Surveys: Current surveys, Previous surveys

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