Children’s hospital experience

A national survey of almost 19,000 children and young people who stayed in hospital overnight or were seen as a day patient show most children were happy with their care. However, 40% of children complained that there were no activities or opportunities to play in hospital.

Furthermore, children with physical or learning disabilities, or mental health needs reported poorer experiences of care than those without.

The results of Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) first survey in England to get views of children and teenagers show that 87% of children and young people and 88% of parents or carers rated their overall experience as seven or above out of ten – the highest scores that are available.

Nationally, the results from the 137 acute NHS trusts which took part in the survey shows:

  • Almost nine out of ten of all eight to fifteen year olds (89%) said that they felt safe on the ward at all  times
  • 91% of parents or carers said they felt that their child was always safe
  • 80% of all eight to fifteen year olds felt that staff did everything they could to help control their pain

Some of the findings that indicated relatively poorer quality of care include:

  • 41% of parents and carers felt staff were not always aware of their child’s medical history before treating them
  • 43% of 12 to 15 year olds felt that they were not fully involved in decisions about their care
  • Over one third (35%) of parents and carers said that they were not definitely encouraged to be involved in decisions about their child’s care and treatment
  • Less than half the children between 8-15 (45%) liked the food on offer
  • Almost one in three (32%) parents or carers said that staff were not always available when their child needed attention
  • Over four in ten children aged 8-11 (42%) said staff did not play or do any activities with them while in hospital

When it came to the arrangements for leaving hospital:

  • One in every eight children were not told who to talk to or what to do if they were worried about anything when they got home.
  • One in five parents or carers were not given any written information about their child’s condition or treatment to take home, but would have liked some.