This survey looks at the experiences of children, young people and their parents and carers attending hospital.
The 2020 Children and Young People’s Survey received feedback about the experiences of 27,374 children aged between 0 and 15, who were admitted to hospital during November 2020, December 2020 and January 2021. This includes responses from 13,261 children and young people aged 8 to 15, who directly gave us feedback about their care.
Three questionnaires were used:
- Parent and carers of children aged 0 to 7 answered a questionnaire to feedback on their child’s experiences.
- Children and young people aged 8 to 11 and 12 to 15 each answered their own questionnaire, which also included some questions for their parent or carer.
What we found
Most children and young people, and their parents, continue to report positive experiences about many important aspects of care and treatment. Many children and young people told us that overall, they were treated well by staff, that staff were friendly and gave them privacy during treatment. Most children told us that staff always answered their questions and listened to what they had to say. However, children were less positive about feeling involved in decisions about their care and knowing what was going to happen next with after leaving hospital. Some children and young people also reported poorer experiences around having enough to do in the hospital or being played with.
- 93% of children and young people felt they had been looked after either ‘very well’ (73%) or ‘quite well’ (20%).
- 89% of children and young people said staff were ‘always’ friendly, an increase from 2016 and 2018 (both 87%).
- 94% of children and young people said staff spoke with them about any worries they had.
- 85% of parents and carers of children aged 0 to 15 rated their child’s experience as 8 or more out of 10.
Interactions with staff
- 95% of children and young people felt able to ask staff questions. Out of those who asked staff questions, 93% said that their questions were answered.
- 85% of children said that staff ‘always’ listened to what they had to say.
- 92% of young people aged 12 to 15 felt able to speak to a doctor or nurse without their parent or carer being there.
- 88% of children and young people said that hospital staff spoke with them about how they were going to care for them.
- 93% of parents and carers said that staff agreed a plan for their child’s care with them.
- 86% of children and young people said they were always given enough privacy when receiving care and treatment.
- 89% of parents and carers of children aged 0 to 7 said their child was ‘always’ given enough privacy when receiving care and treatment.
- 77% of parents and carers said that the environment was ‘very clean’. This is a statistically significant 10 percentage point increase on 2016 and 2018 (both 67%). This finding likely reflects enhanced infection prevention and control measures in children’s services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Operations and procedures
- 93% of children and young people who had an operation, or a procedure said that staff explained to them what would be done.
- 91% of parents and carers of children and young people who had an operation or a procedure said that staff ‘completely’ answered their questions beforehand.
Key areas for improvement
Information and involvement
- 46% of children and young people said they were involved ‘a lot’ in decisions about their care and treatment. Children aged 8 to 11 were less likely to say they were involved ‘a lot’ (43%) than children aged 12 to 15 (48%).
Play and activities
- 44% of children and young people said that there were enough things for them to do in hospital – a statistically significant decline from 50% in 2018 and 51% in 2016.
- 41% of children aged 8 to 11 said staff did not play or do activities with them.
- 43% of parents and carers of children aged 0 to 7 said that their child ‘definitely’ had enough to do in hospital. This is a statistically significant large decline from 2018 (61%) and 2016 (63%).
Food and hospital facilities
- 52% of children and young people said that they liked the hospital food.
- 47% of children and young people who needed to sleep said that it was ‘always’ quiet enough to sleep.
- 28% of parents and carers were able to get a hot drink from a kitchen area or parents’ room and 21% said they had access to a café or vending machine. 61% of parents said they were unable to prepare food while staying at hospital. This is likely a result of restrictions on services due to COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures.
- 82% of children and young people who experienced pain felt that staff did everything they could to help. This leaves 14% who said staff ‘sort of’ helped and 4% who said they felt staff did not do everything they could to help.
- 68% of children and young people said they knew what was going to happen next when they left hospital.
- 79% of children and young people said staff gave them advice about how to care for themselves when they got home.
- 72% of parents and carers ‘definitely’ knew what was going to happen next with their child’s care.
How experience varies for different groups of people
Children aged 8 to 11, children and young people with mental health conditions, those who stayed on an adult ward or received surgical instead of medical care reported consistently poorer than average experiences across many care themes. Parents and carers of these children also reported poorer experiences. Parents of children aged 0 to 7 reported more negative experiences across multiple areas of care.
Results for NHS trusts
Each trust was provided with a benchmark report, which provides more detail about the data.
Results from previous surveys
How will results be used?
We will use the results from the survey in the regulation, monitoring and inspection of NHS trusts. Survey data will be used to help us assess how trusts are performing. Survey data will also form a key source of evidence to support the judgements and inspection ratings published for trusts.
Trusts and commissioners are expected to take action to improve services based on the results.
NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department for Health and Social Care
Information collected nationally in a consistent way is essential to support public and Parliamentary accountability. The results are used by NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department of Health and Social Care for performance assessment, improvement and regulatory purposes.