A survey of more than 500 patients has revealed that Dartford and Gravesham NHS trust is worse than others when it comes to communicating.
In July 2015, more than 70 questions were sent to 1,250 people who had been treated at hospitals within the trust, asking what they thought about the care and treatment they received.
Those hospitals are Darent Valley, Queen Mary’s, Erith and District and Elm Court, a nurse-led unit in the grounds of Priory Mews nursing home in Dartford.
While in most areas the trust came out average, in no field was it better than any other trust and in many it was notably worse.
Almost half of people replied, anonymously, to the survey. Scores were out of 10 – 10 being the best mark.
In the “overall views of care and services” category, Dartford and Gravesham only scored 5.1 out of 10, below the national average.
While people scored the hospital almost 9/10 for being treated with dignity and respect, when it came to being told how to complain, those quizzed judged it very poor, at just 1.6.
It is a lack of information that saw the trust repeatedly fall short.
While generally people’s experience of leaving hospital was average, many did not feel they had been told how to take medication at home in a way they understood, or were given enough notice of their discharge.
For those going under the knife, the overall experience was average, but the number of people who said they felt they had been given a clear explanation of the risks and benefits before surgery was worse than the average too.
"We take this extremely seriously and have been asking patients, alongside the friends and family test, about their views regarding our communication." - Hospital trust
Most people indicated they trusted their doctor, but they did not answer patients’ questions in a way they could understand.
With regard to waiting lists, when asked if people felt the time before admission was right, the hospital scored 7.4/10, worse than the national average.
When asked about their experience generally people gave the hospital 7.8/10, which is about the same as other trusts.
A spokesman for Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust said: “We are disappointed to see that in some areas the survey results are below the national average.
“The results from those surveys show that, between July and December 2015, there has been an improvement in the way patients feel they were communicated with.
“To improve awareness we have also ensured that information on how to comment about the care we provide is clearly displayed in all patient areas. Feedback on services is essential so we can improve in those areas that matter most to patients.”