“The overall experience of children and young people in hospitals appears to be good, which of course is hugely positive.
“However, this report also reveals areas of real concern. Around 8% of children are being cared for in a ward that they feel is ‘unsuitable’ for their age – with 1% being treated in adult wards. This is symptomatic of a system under strain – and is entirely inappropriate. In the worst cases, it can cause great distress to the child and result in a much poorer experience of care. Moving a child to an adult ward is always a last resort, but without adequate investment in staff and beds for paediatrics, it’s a situation that is only set to get worse.
“Children with a mental health conditions reported overall a poorer experience, highlighting a clear resource gap.
“It’s also worrying that more than a third of children aged 8-11 said they did not feel involved at all in making decisions about their care or treatment. Children and young people want, and should, be involved in discussions and decisions that affect their health. As well as ensuring healthcare professionals are better trained to communicate effectively, we know children are keen to see technology used more frequently – email for letters rather than post, and the use of websites and apps to encourage feedback and engagement between health professionals and patients.
“This report from the CQC is useful, but it’s worth remembering that there are hundreds of thousands of children who receive healthcare outside hospitals – so we want to see this survey extended to cover outpatient and community settings, including mental health.”