Headlines: January 25th, 2012

The number of patients mentioning NHS spending levels in NHS feedback has increased over threefold in the past year, according to figures released today by independent feedback website Patient Opinion.

The figures were released in response to the Health Select Committee’s accusations that hospitals are ‘salami slicing’ less headline grabbing services such as physiotherapy for elderly people, in attempts to find £20bn in efficiency savings. See Publicnet

Concerns shared on the nationwide feedback site, which brokers conversations between NHS trusts and patients and their carers, reveal a decline in levels of care across the country with bed shortages and lack of caring staff attributed to NHS spending cuts.

Speaking at the beginning of June 2011, a patient in the North West said: “I came to hospital in February with spinal injuries. The care I received at the beginning was good, but recently care has declined which I feel is due to staff shortages.

Similarly professionals at hospitals are also concerned about the effect that cuts are having on the delivery of service. A healthcare worker at Rotherham hospital, posting anonymously under the username Stressedhealthcarer in July 2011, said: “As a healthcare worker at Rotherham hospital, I am increasingly concerned about the standards of quality care. Due to bed closures patients are being constantly moved throughout their stay which I feel results in disjointed medical and nursing care.

“Senior management aren’t there to explain to disgruntled patients and visitors why their loved one has been moved for the fifth time – it’s left to already stressed and overstretched ward staff!”

Speaking about the impact of efficiency savings on patients’ experiences, CEO of Patient Opinion, Dr Paul Hodgkin, said: “We released these figures to raise greater awareness of the opinions of patients and their carers’ opinion who are being directly affected by the Government’s efficiency drive. “From what they tell us, patients are not opposed to making the NHS more efficient. But it is clear that patients want the NHS to work with their needs when making these cuts, rather than leaving people feeling uncared for and confused.”