The National Institute for Heath and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a new quality standard and guidance on patient experience in adult NHS services.
Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser at NCT, the UK's largest charity for parents, said:
“NCT advocates on behalf of users of maternity services, most of whom are not ‘patients’ in the sense of being sick or injured, but are in need of supportive, individualised and respectful care: therefore this quality standard and guidance around the experience of adults using NHS services is welcomed. We note the call for a ‘cultural shift’ in the NHS and the requirement for services to be measured against the standard. In addition, we expect the Government to ensure that staffing levels in all services are sufficient to enable healthcare professionals to spend the time they need with each user or patient, in order to meet the standards set.
“In 2010, NCT published ‘Left to your own devices’, a report on women’s experiences of postnatal care, which showed that, in some cases, the care fell far short of being compassionate, understanding and tailored to their needs. We look forward to the quality standard now being met not only in this long-under-resourced area of care and but elsewhere in the maternity service.
“The emphasis on individualised care, shared decision-making, continuity of care and decisions about choices being respected and supported are particularly relevant in maternity and parent-centred services. We know that most midwives and doctors do work in this way but the move to set out the standards formally will endorse good practice and support those who provide such high quality, cost effective care.
“Finally, while we appreciate the current guidance focuses on immediate experiences of care, we also urge policy makers to address the need for robust structures that enable patients and users to be involved in the design, development and evaluation of services, so that they can be ‘patient-centred’ from the start.”
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