Care Quality Commission’s in-patient survey reveals increase in patient safety risks


  • 1st July 2019

(LONDON, UK, 1 July 2019) – The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) recently published 2019 annual in-patient survey shows that improvement in two areas of patient experience has stalled while a range of issues that matter to patients have worsened. The charity, Patient Safety Learning, has identified that deteriorating performance in two of these issues is likely to make patient safety risks worse.

Fewer patients informed properly when discharged home

The CQC’s sixteenth annual survey of people who stayed as an in-patient in hospital was published on 20 June 2019. It shows that most people had confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them, and felt that staff answered their questions clearly.

However, the survey reports that 40% of patients were discharged from hospital without written information about how to look after themselves following treatment. This is up 2% from 2017. Of patients who had been given medication to take home, 44% were not told of possible side effects for which they should watch.

Fewer patients report being involved in their own care

Only 54% of patients report that they are involved as much as they want to be in decisions about their care and treatment, down from 56% in 2017. The number of patients reporting that their views had been sought on the quality of care they received was down by a quarter compared with 2017, from 20% to 15%.

An increasing challenge to safety

Giving patients written information about how to look after themselves on discharge is clearly a patient safety issue. If this practice is reducing, then the inherent risk to patients must be increasing.

Patient Safety Learning’s recent report, A Blueprint for Action, cited a wide range of evidence that communication with patients – listening to them and acting on what is heard – has a demonstrable effect on improving patient safety. The evidence from the CQC survey indicates, however, that such practice is reducing, not increasing, with corresponding implications for patient safety.

Patient Safety Learning Chief Executive, Helen Hughes, said, “Effective communication and engagement with patients is essential for safe care. The CQC’s survey is a valuable tool for assessing this. It is concerning that their report evidences that communication with patients is reducing in ways that have the potential to increase the risk to patient safety. Patient safety is a core part of the purpose of healthcare and action is needed to share good practice across the wider health system.”


Note to editors

Patient Safety Learning is a charity. We help transform safety in health and social care, creating a world where patients are free from harm.

We identify the critical factors that affect patient safety and analyse the systemic reasons they fail. We use what we learn to envision safer care. We recommend how to get there. Then we act to help make it happen.

Patient Safety Learning’s latest report, A Blueprint for Action, can be downloaded on our website.

For more information, contact

Margot Knight, Communications and Marketing Manager, Patient Safety Learning
E: [email protected]


Helen Hughes, Chief Executive, Patient Safety Learning
T: +44 (0) 7793 550855
E: [email protected]

Patient Safety Learning
SB 220

China Works

100 Black Prince Road


Registered charity number 1180689

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