This week in the Patients Association Weekly News:
  • Have your say
  • Call for new members
  • Huge pressures on hospitals: new stats from the NHS
  • Opportunity to help NICE
  • News from the helpline team

We have three surveys underway that will all be closing during January, so please do take some time to fill them out if you haven’t already, and if they’re relevant to you. Thank you.    

From hospital into care

Have you had to discharge any of your loved ones from hospital into care? We're collating people's experiences so that we can qualify the impact finding care has on friends and family.  

Take the survey
Food in hospitals

Have you been in hospital recently? What was the food like?

We’re feeding into the NHS Hospital Review Panel to make sure that hospital food improves and is as good as it can possibly be! Help us by taking a moment to complete this survey and sharing your experiences of hospital food and drink.  

Take the survey
Patient Experience

This is the year we are escalating our focus on improving patients’ experiences of health and social care and we need to hear from you so we can decide on our priority actions.  

Based on your feedback, we’ll be launching recommendations and initiatives in the coming months so, if you have ever been a patient in any capacity whatsoever, please set aside ten minutes to complete our survey. Your opinions really do matter. 

Take the survey

Call for new members

Our members make us what we are and give us the vital background and patient feedback we need to develop our policies and programmes. The more people we hear from, the more powerful the results and the louder our voice, which is why we would love to massively increase our membership numbers and Weekly News readership during 2020. 

Have you got any friends or family who you think might be interested in becoming a member? If so, please share with them the membership details which are available on our web site.  Thank you – let’s extend our team as far and wide as possible! 

Membership details

Please remember that receiving Weekly News does not necessarily mean you are a full member of the Patients Association – if you are unsure whether you are a member, please email and we can check for you. 

On Thursday 9th January, the NHS released some statistics relating to their performance during December 2019 and over the Christmas period.  Unfortunately, the numbers show that the huge pressures hospitals are under have led to increased delays for patients needing emergency care. In A&E, performance against the four hour waiting time target reached a new low, with one in five patients waiting more than four hours.  

Even more worrying, there has been a huge jump in the number of people stuck waiting far too long on a trolley to be admitted to a ward. The number of these patients who are waiting more than 12 hours more than doubled over the previous month to over 2,300, more than eight times higher than the number last year. 


Following the publication of these figures we prepared a positioning statement citing our opinion on the key issues: 

The NHS’s latest performance figures are truly shocking, and show that it is becoming harder and harder for patients to get safe and dignified care and treatment – particularly in A&E. 

The Government now has record levels of patient need, in large part due to demographic change. We could and should have been planning and investing for this, with social care services and community health services to help people keep well in their own homes. Instead, people are having to go to A&E in crisis.  It will take a long time to turn this around: the Government needs to re-think the shortfall in funding it’s promising for the NHS and restore the Prime Minister’s broken promise to solve the social care crisis. 

 We should not have nearly 100,000 people a month waiting on trolleys in our hospitals, as these figures show we have.  For patients, waiting on trolleys sometimes for up to 12 hours, is hugely distressing and undignified for people at a time when they are most vulnerable, and can lead to poorer outcomes for their care. 

Help develop NICE guidelines

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) produces guidance on the most effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease and ill health. Their work is based on research evidence and considers the views of people working in or using relevant products and services. 

They are currently developing antimicrobial prescribing guidelines and are recruiting lay members from people with experience of skin abscesses. As a lay member, you would need to reflect the views, experiences and needs of the public to ensure they are included in the development of this guideline, and be able to contribute effectively in a formal committee setting. NICE pay their lay members a fee to attend meetings and they also cover travel and other expenses.  

If you are interested, full details of the role and application process are available here and please note that applications close at 5pm on 5th February 2020.   

News from our helpline

Our helpline team often handle calls about dentist care.  This week Paul* phoned us as he was very concerned and disappointed with the care he had received over treatment for a new denture. 

Paul had a partial denture made for him for which he paid the standard NHS charge. During his appointment and immediately after the denture had been fitted, he suffered great discomfort. It just didn’t feel right and caused very sharp pain. Paul alerted the dentist who then made some satisfactory adjustments and Paul left the dentist practice assuming all was well. 

However, a few days later the discomfort and sharp pain returned. Very distressed and worried about what to do, Paul called us for advice.  

We assured him that he was absolutely entitled to have dentures that were comfortable, and we advised him to make another appointment with his dentist immediately to alert her to the pain he was suffering and get it rectified as soon as possible. 

We then advised him that if the dentist failed to sort out his problem, he could get further support and advice from the Oral Health Foundation, for which we provided the contact details.   

As we do with all our callers, we asked Paul to contact us again if he needed additional advice or information. 
*Name changed to protect privacy 

If you would like to get in touch with the Oral Health Foundation, please click here and you will be directed to their website. 


Contact our helpline
What our team is reading this week
A&E patients face long waits as winter bites
11 million patients wait more than three weeks for see their GP (£)
The doctor won’t see you now: Radical plans to save NHS GPs
Artificial intelligence will revolutionise healthcare but it can’t replace doctors and nurses
Mental Health Matters: Left with no choice

About Us

Our vision is that health and social care will be delivered in a way that meets every person’s health and social care needs.

Our mission is to give effect to the patient voice, to improve patient experience and support people to engage fully in their own care. Find out more about our values on our website

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The Patients Association is a registered charity in England and Wales (1006733).  A company limited by guarantee.  Registered company in England and Wales (02620761)
Registered address:  P Block, Northwick Park Hospital, The North West Hospitals NHS Trust, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex, HA1 3YJ

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