Care Quality Commission August 2020 Newsletter

Surveys planned for 2020

On 6th April 2020, NHS trusts received a letter to inform them that CQC, in consultation with colleagues at NHS England and NHS Improvement, took the decision to cancel the fieldwork for the 2020 National Maternity Survey. CQC took this unprecedented decision in recognition of the important work that NHS trusts were doing at this time in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 2020 Community Mental Health Survey is currently underway. Fieldwork concluded at the end of June. Results are expected to be published on the CQC website in November 2020.

From autumn 2020 three surveys will run as part of the Programme:

  • 2020 Urgent & Emergency Care (UEC) Survey
  • 2020 Inpatient Survey
  • 2020 Children and Young People’s Survey

For full details, please see the survey programme which sets out dates for future surveys, and expected publication dates, and can be found on the CQC website.

Changes to the way we administer surveys

As mentioned in our January newsletter, CQC are looking at ways to improve and future-proof the survey programme, by encouraging people to complete questionnaires online wherever possible, rather than only using paper-based questionnaires as we do now.

Alongside the 2019 Adult Inpatient Survey, CQC worked with the Coordination Centre for Mixed Methods (based at Ipsos MORI) to pilot two ‘push-to-web’ approaches where patients were offered the option of completing the questionnaire either online or by paper. Initially, patients were sent a letter inviting them to complete the survey online. In later reminders patients were sent a paper questionnaire. In addition to the postal invitations and reminders, patients also received text message (SMS) reminders containing a direct link to the online survey.

The results of the pilot have shown that the push-to-web approaches were successful in encouraging patients to respond online, and with care, can preserve the demographic profile of respondents and increasing responses from younger patients.

We also carried out engagement work to understand what different stakeholders think about these methodological changes across all of our surveys and how it may impact them. Results show that most stakeholders support the proposed move to a push to web approach, so long as consideration is given to those that might experience difficulties with these methods. They also identified a number of advantages and disadvantages for consideration as a digital approach is implemented and that can inform design and delivery as the approach evolves over time.

Reports detailing the full findings from the pilot and engagement work have been published on the NHS Surveys website .

Based on the successful pilot and engagement work, the 2020 Inpatient Survey will be implementing a push-to-web mixed-mode methodology. The development work for this survey has already started and it will be coordinated by the Coordination Centre for Mixed Methods (Ipsos MORI). The questionnaire will undergo some changes to make it suitable to deliver online, accessibility options will be improved and the sampling month (i.e. the month during which people received inpatient care) will be moved from July to November, which will impact the ability to provide comparisons with previous years.

New CYP Survey Pic

Changes to the survey programme: Children and Maternity Surveys digital pilot work

Push to web methods will be piloted across all surveys before being implemented to ensure they are effective for the widest range of patients. Following on from the successful pilot work for the inpatient survey, pilot work has also been undertaken for the children’s and maternity surveys. Results from the pilots are in and we expect to publish the results on the NHS Surveys website shortly.

Based on extremely successful results from the Maternity pilot, the 2021 Maternity survey will run using this new push-to-web approach, and the survey will be coordinated by Ipsos MORI through the Coordination Centre for Mixed Methods.  The results of the Children’s Survey pilot were more mixed however, which we believe is due to the different ways mobile telephone numbers are held by NHS trusts. It is important, if we are to send survey invitations by text message, that we can ensure messages are going to parents rather than children themselves. For this reason, the 2020 Children and Young People’s Survey will continue to use postal invitations and paper based questionnaires only

Recent survey publications

The 2019 Adult Inpatient Survey published on the 2nd July. This survey reflects the experiences of patients who received NHS inpatient care during July 2019.

Positive findings:

  • Most questions on the theme of being treated in a respectful and dignified manner continued a trend of sustained improvement over the last 3-6 years
  • Results show communication between staff and patients before and after operations is improving
  • Patients continue to report positively when asked about the cleanliness of the hospital environment, the choice of food available to them and hydration
  • Confidence in doctors and nurses also remains high this year

However, this year’s results indicate that there are areas in need of improvement:

  • Patients consistently reported less positive experiences for the themes of communication at the point of discharge and consideration of the support they will need after leaving hospital
  • Results for information sharing in relation to medicines, including: explaining the purpose, being told about possible side effects and being given written or printed information all declined this year
  • The percentage of people experiencing shortages in nursing staff remains high

Certain groups of patients consistently reported poorer experiences of their time in hospital, including:

  • Patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Younger patients (aged 16 to 35)
  • Patients who were admitted in an emergency

For full details, please see the survey programme which can be found on the CQC website.


Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has given their time to participate in, or share feedback with us, as part of our work to trial online survey methods. If you would like to participate in future development work, please contact:

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