Aims The survey implementation aimed to collect data which could give insights into the experiences of young outpatients regarding the healthcare they received. The overall aim is to provide actionable results for NHS trusts which will allow them to focus improvement efforts on what matters most to those using their services.
Methods The paediatric outpatient survey (first piloted in 2009 and since repeated annually for interested NHS Trusts) was conducted with nine acute NHS trusts in England in 2015. There were two survey versions – one for parents of children aged 0–7 years, and one for young outpatients aged 8–16. The survey sections are designed to mirror the patient journey. It has been designed specifically for young patients and includes child friendly questions and design. A random sample of 7650 young outpatients who attended an appointment in February 2015 were invited to give feedback via a postal questionnaire. A copy of the relevant questionnaire was sent via post to patients' home addresses, followed by two reminder mailings to non-responders.
Results The overall response rate for eligible patients across all participating trusts was 26% (n = 1955). Although parents and children gave similar responses to some questions, they contrasted on others. 96% of children felt they were looked after well and 95% of parent rated their child’s care as (very) good or excellent overall. Despite these positive overall care ratings, 33% of children were not fully involved in decisions about what happened to them in hospital, and 29% felt scared or frightened during their appointment. Additionally, 48% of parents were not told fully about medication side effects, and more than half did not fully know before the appointment what was going to happen.
Conclusion As well as highlighting areas of good performance, the survey identified areas for improvement for participating trusts. Additionally, it demonstrated the capacity and willingness of young patients to give feedback on their care. Understanding the hospital experience of young outpatients and learning what is important to them is valuable for improving services for this patient population.
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