Boston Pilgrim scores poorly in new patient survey

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

Boston Pilgrim is among England’s lowest performing hospitals according to a new patient survey published this week.

The NHS Friends Family and Family test revealed that satisfaction levels for A&E visitors and inpatients attending the hospital between April and June were among the bottom fifth for each category.

The survey, introduced to increase openness and transparency across the NHS, asked patients whether they would recommend the service to friends and family. The proportion of responders who gave negative feedback was taken from the proportion who gave positive feedback to give a ‘net promoter’ score.

Pilgrim’s A&E patients responding to the survey in April gave the trust an overall score of 40 - 13 points beneath the national average and among the worst surveyed.

Inpatient scores were also below the national benchmark with an average of 61 across the quarter compared with 70 for England as a whole.

However, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates Pilgrim, scored better overall, thanks to higher ratings at Lincoln and Grantham.

Director of nursing, Eiri Jones, said: “As a trust we rate above average for inpatient feedback with a score of 67 and a good response rate and for our A&E departments are above the midway mark with a score of 51.

“These scores demonstrate that many patients and families value the care provided by ULHT and the patient comments have been extremely powerful.

“We recognise, however, that there is more to do and we would like to ask our patients and carers to continue to complete these surveys should they visit our wards and departments.”

Although NHS England’s national director for patients and information, Tim Kelsey, hailed the survey as ‘the boldest move yet to promote real openness in the NHS’ patient groups have branded the £150 million exercise a waste of money, with too few responses gathered to provide useful comparisons.

Nationally the average response was only 10 per cent and during some months in Lincolnshire less than four per cent of A&E patients took part.

Beacon Patient Participation Group chairman Richard Enderby, though keen for patients to have their say, warned against reading too much into the statistics.

“I think anything that allows patient to have a better say in the care they have had is to be welcomed,” he said.

“What concerns me is this only gives a snap shot of what a particular patient feels about the service at a particular time and so it shouldn’t be viewed as a comprehensive account of the health service.

“There will inevitably be a lot of time spent getting to the bottom of the results and we are in a danger of getting into an administrative nightmare.”

The survey’s publication follows an announcement last month that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt placed ULHT under special measures along with 10 other trusts found to have failings under the Keogh Review.