Trust and confidence are key components of the clinician-patient relationship. There are many benefits which may accrue from a trusting relationship, including open communication of information, improved adherence to medical advice, improvement of health outcomes and better patient experience.
The national patient experience surveys ask service users whether they have confidence and trust in the doctors, nurses and other clinicians treating them.
A number of national patient surveys ask service users whether they have confidence and trust in clinicians. It is useful to compare people's responses to understand how patient experience varies across NHS services.
In 2018, 79% of Adult Inpatient Survey respondents stated that they always had confidence and trust in the doctors treating them. This compares to 69% of 2019 GP Patient Survey respondents, who said that they definitely had confidence and trust in the healthcare professional they last saw or spoke to.
82% of Maternity Services Survey respondents reported that they definitely had confidence and trust in the staff who cared for them during their labour and birth. The Children and Young People's Survey was answered by parents with children aged 15 and under who had been admitted to hospital; 79% of them said that they always had confidence and trust in the members of staff treating their child. 75% of Emergency Department Survey respondents who had attended type 1 departments stated that they definitely had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses examining and treating them, however 6% did not.
The differences in responses between the surveys may reflect the demographics of respondents, as well as their experience of services. For example, older people tend to respond more positively in surveys, and a higher proportion of inpatients are in older age groups compared with maternity service users.
Adult Inpatient Survey respondents are asked, “Did you have confidence and trust in the doctors treating you?” Answers to this question have remained largely stable over time. From 2009 to 2018, the proportion of respondents who ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the doctors treating them remained between 77% and 80%, and those who did not have confidence and trust fluctuated at around 4%.
The survey also asks about confidence and trust in nurses. The proportion of respondents who ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the doctors treating them is consistently higher than the proportion who ‘always’ had confidence and trust in the nurses (data not shown).
About this data
These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey, the GP Patient Survey, the Children and Young People's Survey, the Emergency Department Survey and the Maternity Services 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.
Note that data from the most recent survey publications have been used for comparison. 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 NHS England, National Patient and Staff Surveys.