05 December 2008
By Paul Dicken
Measures to improve patients' experience in the NHS should do more to support staff to offer compassionate care, a leading health think-tank has said.
The King's Fund report – published to launch its Point of Care programme, which will look at patients' experience – said there was a lack of evidence to support many of the methods currently used to improve services. They were often too focused on one group of patients or one aspect of patients' experience.
Chief executive Niall Dickson said: 'Most of us know from our own experience that while care is often fantastic, it is sometimes impersonal and lacks compassion.
'We know good care can aid recovery and that good leadership can create a culture which brings that about. Working with patients, families, staff and the leadership within hospitals, we hope that the Point of Care programme will help to transform what it is like to be cared for in hospital.'
The programme will aim to provide resources for those interested in patients' experience of care and to increase the number of trials and pilot sites over the next 18 months to two years, 'enabling the development of rigorously tested and evaluated methods that can be widely used by hospitals'.
The first report, published on December 3, said that while patient surveys showed high levels of satisfaction, more detailed studies revealed a 'patchier picture', with variations in the quality of care.
Dr Jocelyn Cornwell, the programme leader, said staff came to work intending to provide the quality of care they would want for themselves and their families. But, she added: 'Today's hospitals are vast, time is at a premium and in these busy “medical factories” care of the person can unfortunately get squeezed out.'