Which? launches 'Impatient for Change'Patients' complaints need to be heard

05 October 2007

Which? launches its new Impatient for Change campaign today to call on politicians and the NHS to stop talking and start listening to patients and take action.

The campaign comes as the party conference season - dominated by health issues - comes to an end and the day after publication of Lord Darzi’s interim NHS review.

In August, we surveyed 1,000 people who’d been into hospital during the previous 12 months and found almost half were unhappy with an aspect of their experience, such as the food, cleanliness, organisation of care - but fewer than half of these spoke out.

Over a third didn’t complain about their care because they thought it wouldn’t make a difference, almost a quarter said they just ‘expected’ that from the NHS and more than one in ten thought speaking out might compromise their care.

Staff want patients' views

But we found that staff want to hear from patients. When we surveyed 250 members of hospital staff during August and September, 99% per said they would like to hear about their patients’ concerns and most said they thought gathering feedback would drive improvements.

Nick Stace, Director of Campaigns at Which?, says: ‘There’s been a lot of talk from politicians over the past three weeks about patient-centred care. We’ve spent a long time listening to patients about the things that matter and the research shows that the talk is sadly more rhetoric than reality.  

‘We've identified a deadlock in the system that’s led to a real complacency culture existing in the NHS and a service that doesn’t tackle the issues that matter to patients. It's no surprise that problems with hospital food, cleanliness and the organisation of care crop up time and time again when the NHS isn't listening or responding to patients' needs.

‘Nurses, doctors, managers - they all want to hear from their patients. The NHS now needs a complete culture shift so that patients are encouraged and supported to provide feedback throughout their time in hospital and assured that their comments will make a difference. Acting on feedback would be the quickest and easiest route to making the improvements patients want to see.’ 

We want your stories

Which? would like to hear from people who have recently had to stay in hospital. Tell your story through our website, Impatient for Change

People who are going into hospital or visiting a friend or family member can download the Which? Hospital Companion.