Hospital care standards ‘maintained’ in pandemic – study

·3 min read

Standards of care for hospital patients admitted with Covid-19 did not slip during the pandemic, a new study suggests.

More than three-quarters of people admitted to hospital with coronavirus received “good” or “excellent” care, according to a new review from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP).

Researchers examined the case records of 510 patients treated across 19 NHS trusts in England during 2020.

Overall, 96.5% were deemed to have received adequate, good or excellent care, and for 77.4% the care was good or excellent.

It was deemed to be poor for 3.5% of patients.

The reviewers said the “very few instances of poor care” was “exceptional given the enormous pressures that were very rapidly placed upon the NHS at the start of the pandemic”.

When poor care was identified, it was linked to end-of-life care, patients who had acquired Covid-19 while in hospital, or delays in assessment or escalation of care.

The RCP said that, despite overall good performance, hospitals should “strive to reduce variation in care” in some areas including end-of-life care in hospital, care for those with learning disabilities, and documentation and communication.

Dr John Dean, the RCP’s clinical director for quality improvement and patient safety, said: “My colleagues in the NHS have been faced with unprecedented challenges during the pandemic but RCP’s study shows how almost all care provided has been of the right standard.

“We can, however, learn from excellent care, and variations in care, just as we can learn from poor care, and I am sure that this study will prove invaluable as we seek to learn from this extraordinary time.”

Dr Susie Orme, consultant in care of the elderly at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which took part in the study, said: “At the start of the first wave of Covid-19, before we had the knowledge and the treatments we now have and when, at times, the only available treatment was to care, we continued to care well.

“This report highlights how healthcare organisations maintained the high standards of patient care we would expect in non-pandemic times.”

Commenting on the study, Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have seen day in and day out the incredible dedication of NHS staff, often in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, and these findings once again demonstrate their remarkable efforts in providing high-quality patient care to those who needed it.

“Hardworking frontline staff have achieved the same high standards of care alongside treating over 400,000 seriously ill people in hospitals with Covid, continuing non-Covid care and delivering the largest and fastest vaccine rollout in health service history.”

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