Respect and dignity

We examine whether patients feel they are treated with respect and dignity.

Indicator

Last updated: 30/11/2020

Patient experience
Hospital care Emergency care Mental health Children and young people

Background

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 made it a statutory requirement that all service users must be treated with dignity and respect. It is also one of the key NHS values that is written into the NHS Constitution. This includes making sure that people have privacy when they need and want it, treating them as equals and providing any support they might need to be independent. The national patient surveys ask service users whether they felt they were treated with respect and dignity.


How does the proportion of patients feeling they were treated with respect and dignity compare across NHS services? 30/11/2020

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A number of national patient surveys ask service users whether they felt they were treated with respect and dignity. It is useful to compare people's responses to understand how experience varies across NHS services.

Maternity Services Survey respondents were asked if they were treated with respect and dignity while they were being cared for during labour and birth. They responded the most favourably, with 89% of respondents saying they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity, and 2% saying they were not. In contrast, only 73% of Community Mental Health Survey respondents said that overall they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity by NHS mental health services in the last 12 months, and 8% said they were not.

89% of Cancer Patient Experience Survey respondents who had been admitted to hospital overnight for cancer care in the past 12 months reported that they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity while they were in hospital. 86% of Children and Young People's Survey respondents (parents or carers of children aged 0 to 15 who had been admitted to hospital) reported that they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity by the people looking after their child. 81% of Adult Inpatient Survey respondents stated that overall they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity while they were in hospital. 79% of Urgent and Emergency Care Survey respondents said they were treated with respect and dignity ‘all of the time’ that they were in A&E, but 4% said they were not.

The differences in responses between the surveys may reflect the demographics of respondents, as well as 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 community mental health service users. Additionally, while the most recent results for each survey are presented here, they were carried out in different time periods. Fieldwork for the Community Mental Health Survey was carried out between February and June 2020, so results may be affected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.


Do adult inpatients feel they are treated with respect and dignity while in hospital? 15/10/2020

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Adult Inpatient Survey respondents are asked, “Overall, did you feel you were treated with respect and dignity while you were in hospital?”. The proportion of respondents who felt they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity increased slightly over time, from 78% in 2009 to 81% in 2019. Those who felt they were not treated with respect and dignity decreased slightly from 3.5% to 3% over the same time period.


Do mental health service users feel they are treated with respect and dignity by NHS mental health services? 30/11/2020

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Community Mental Health Survey respondents are asked, “Overall, in the last 12 months, did you feel that you were treated with respect and dignity by NHS mental health services?” Between 2014 and 2019, the proportion of respondents who felt that they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity decreased from 74% to 71%. The proportion who felt that they were not treated with respect and dignity increased from 7% to 8% over the same time period. Note that the question was reworded in 2014, so the results are not comparable with previous surveys.

In 2020, 73% of Community Mental Health Survey respondents felt that they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity and 8% felt that they were not. Fieldwork for the 2020 survey was carried out from February to June, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Analysis carried out as part of the survey found that, due to the impact of the pandemic, results are not comparable with previous surveys (see ‘About this data’ below for more information).


About this data

These indicators draw on data from the Adult Inpatient Survey, the Children and Young People's Survey, the Urgent and Emergency Care Survey, the Maternity Services Survey, the Community Mental Health Survey and the Cancer Patient Experience Survey.

For each Care Quality Commission survey, two weights have been applied to the survey results data:

  • trust weight to ensure that each trust contributes equally to the England average, and
  • 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.

In 2020, fieldwork for the Community Mental Health Survey was carried out between February and June. Analysis was carried out by the Care Quality Commission to explore the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown measures on results. The analysis found that results may have been affected by changes to service delivery and public attitudes towards the NHS during the pandemic. Therefore, the 2020 survey results are not considered to be comparable to previous years.

For more information please see NHS England, National Patient and Staff Surveys.

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