National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines say that inpatients should receive the same information about medication side effects as patients in other settings. This includes “likely or significant adverse effects and what to do if they think they are experiencing them”. One of the pledges in the NHS Constitution is to encourage feedback on health and care experiences and use this to improve services. The Care Quality Commission's Adult Inpatient Survey and Urgent and Emergency Care Survey ask service users if members of staff told them about medication side effects to watch for.
Less than half (44%) of Urgent and Emergency Care Survey respondents who were prescribed any new medication said that a member of staff ‘completely’ told them about medication side effects to watch for, and 38% said they were not told. Only 37% of Adult Inpatient Survey respondents who were given medicines to take at home said they were ‘completely’ told about side effects to watch for, and a larger proportion (44%) said they were not told.
Note that the differences in responses between the surveys may reflect the demographics of respondents, as well as their experience of services.
NHS Adult Inpatient Survey respondents are asked, “Did a member of staff tell you about medication side effects to watch for when you went home?” The proportion of respondents who said that a member of staff ‘completely’ told them about side effects to watch for increased slightly from 36% in 2009 to 39% in 2015, but has since decreased again to 37% in 2018. In the most recent survey, 44% of respondents stated that they were not told about medication side effects to watch for when they went home.
About this data
These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey and the Urgent and Emergency Care Survey.
For each Care Quality Commission survey, two weights have been applied to the survey results data:
- a trust weight to ensure that each trust contributes equally to the England average, and
- a population weight, to make sure each trust’s results are representative of their own sample and do not over-represent particular groups, such as older respondents.
A combination of the two weights results in one single weighting, which has been applied to enable comparisons between years.
Our comparison across NHS services does not adjust for differences in survey populations; therefore, the results may not be directly comparable.
For more information please see Care Quality Commission, Surveys.