It is nearly ten years since the publication of the Darzi Review, High Quality Care for All. Chapter 4 of that review, “Quality at the heart of everything we do” said, “If quality is to be at the heart of everything we do, it must be understood from the perspective of patients.”
It went on to list the three cornerstones of high quality care as patient safety, patient experience and effectiveness of care.
Since then, some high profile cases of avoidable suffering and death within NHS services have shown why Lord Darzi was right to identify patient experience as a vital component of quality of care.
The obvious one was Mid Staffordshire, where the subsequent Francis Inquiry was clear about the cause of the disaster: “[it] was primarily caused by a serious failure on the part of a provider Trust Board. It did not listen sufficiently to its patients.” Subsequent inquiries into patient deaths at the Morecambe Bay Trust and the Southern Health Trust also referred to poor communications with patients and relatives.
A great deal of time and money is now spent on efforts to understand patient experience. Hundreds of organisations produce thousands of reports every year. It can be hard for health professionals and the general public to make sense of it all. In this overview, we set out to answer three basic questions:
• How is patient experience evidence gathered and disseminated?
• What are we learning?
• Are we acting on the learning?
Our observations come from our unique focus on collating, cataloguing and analysing the nation’s collective intelligence on patient experience. Our evidence base comprises 40,000 documents from Healthwatch, national health charities, think tanks and government bodies such as NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.
This publication is part of our mission to bring patient experience into the light.