The Care Quality Commission has published a two-yearly survey of children and young people’s inpatient experiences covering November 2020 to January 2021.
During this period, the CQC asked 27,374 children, young people aged between 0 and 15 admitted to hospital and separately parents and carers about their experiences.
The data paints a mixed picture with some key positive results and areas for improvement. For example:
- 86% of children and young people said they are always given enough privacy when receiving care and treatment
- 85% of children and young people said that staff always listened to what they had to say
- 15% of children and young people didn’t know who to speak to if they were worried about something when they got home after being discharged
- Children and young people with mental health conditions, or from Asian or Asian British backgrounds reported poorer experiences overall
In response, Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of RCPCH said:
We know that paediatricians and the child health workforce has been working tirelessly to ensure that children are at the centre of their care. This report shows that the majority of care is high quality which, given the data is collected during the second wave of the pandemic in winter 2020/2021, is very welcome news.
At the same time, the picture isn’t entirely rosy. This report taken alongside the growing backlogs of care, widening inequalities and an imminent winter shows we are at a critical juncture for child health.
We urgently need a cross-departmental child health strategy, which includes support for the most vulnerable groups in society alongside a fully funded workforce strategy, to equip the child health workforce across acute, mental health and community services so that no child is left behind.
Dr Omowunmi Akindolie, Assistant Registrar for RCPCH said:
It is fantastic that most children (95%) felt that they were able to ask staff questions, that staff answered their questions (93%) and that staff ‘always’ listened to what they had to say (85%). However, it is extremely worrying that more than half of the children and young people surveyed (54%) said they did not feel fully involved in making decisions about their care or treatment and 29% of children said they only ‘sometimes’ understood what staff said when they spoke to them.
We all have the right to be involved in discussions and decisions that affect our health – and this includes children and young people. Hospital trusts and integrated care systems need to work with children and young people to develop training for staff, to work with hospital-based youth forums to help assess and develop services, and to support their voices in decision making.
RCPCH &Us, the children and young people’s network at the College, have created a wide range of resources, materials and training to support child health workers, managers and settings with best practice engagement and participation.