Are patients told about medication side effects?

This indicator uses survey data to explore whether patients are told about medication side effects to watch for.

Indicator

Last updated: 30/11/2018

Patient experience Safety
Hospital care Emergency care

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) gives guidance that inpatients should receive the same information 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 NHS pledges in the NHS Constitution is to encourage feedback on patients' health and care experiences and use this to improve services. The Care Quality Commission's Adult Inpatient Survey and Emergency Department Survey ask service users if members of staff told them about medication side effects to watch for.


How does the proportion of patients told about medication side effects to watch for compare across NHS services? 15/06/2018

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For Emergency Department Survey respondents who were prescribed any new medication, less than half (45%) said that a member of staff 'completely' told them about medication side effects to watch for, and 37% of respondents said that they were not told. Only 38% of Adult Inpatient Survey respondents who were given medicines to take at home were 'completely' told about side effects to watch for when they went home, and a larger proportion (43%) were not told about side effects to watch for.

Note that the differences in responses between the surveys may reflect the demographics of respondents, as well as experience of services.


How has the proportion of inpatients told about medication side effects to watch for when they went home changed over time? 15/06/2018

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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 medication side effects to watch for has increased slightly over time, from 36% in 2009 to 38% in 2017. A greater proportion of respondents answered 'no' across all years, however this proportion has gradually decreased, from 46% in 2009 to 43% in 2017.


About this data

These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey and the Emergency Department Survey.

For each CQC survey, two weights were 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 groups such as older respondents. A combination of the two weights resulted in one single weighting which was applied to enable comparisons between years.

Note that data from the most recent survey publications were used for comparison. Our comparison across NHS services did not adjust for differences in survey populations; therefore, the results may not be directly comparable.

For more information please see Care Quality Commission, Surveys.

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