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Over 80% of Patients Satisfied With Hospital Experience Across UL Hospitals Group, National Survey Finds

  • Patients Report High Levels of Trust and Confidence in Staff
  • Feedback Identifies Discharge Planning and Communication Among the Areas That Can Be Improved
  • National Inpatient Experience Survey 2022 Underway from May 1st

(LIMERICK 09.05.2022) THE results of the fourth National Inpatient Experience Survey have found more than four in five patients across UL Hospitals Group described their overall experience as good or very good.

Just under 1,000 patients have provided their feedback and the results from the 2021 survey are already being used to drive improvements in quality across the five participating hospitals.

All five – University Hospital Limerick, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital, St John’s Hospital and Croom Orthopaedic Hospital – are now encouraging all patients who are discharged from hospital during May 2022 to participate in this year’s National Inpatient Experience Survey.

Within UL Hospitals Group as a whole, 82% of surveyed patients rated their overall experience as good or very good in September 2021, compared to a national average of 83%. In University Hospital Limerick 78% of patients described their overall experience as good or very good, as did 88% of patients in Ennis Hospital; 90% in Nenagh Hospital; 95% in St John’s Hospital and 94% in Croom Orthopaedic Hospital.

The survey also assigns as overall rating of hospital experience, with a national average of 8.2 out of 10 in 2021. In UL Hospitals Group, UHL scored 7.8 out of 10; Nenagh 8.6 out of 10, Ennis 8.7 out of 10, St John’s 8.8 out of 10 and Croom 9.2 out of 10.

Every patient who had spent at least one night in an acute hospital during September 2021 was asked for their feedback through almost 60 detailed questions and UL Hospitals Group achieved an overall response rate of 40%.

Patients are asked for their feedback and observations on each stage of their journey through hospital and the survey is broken down into sections on Admissions, Care on the Ward; Examination, Diagnosis and Treatment; and Discharge/Transfer. To reflect the additional challenges faced by patients in 2021 due to Covid-19, questions were added to this most recent survey on how patients experienced care during the pandemic.


Declan McNamara, Director of Nursing, Medicine Directorate, UL Hospitals Group, said: “The pandemic has caused a lot of additional anxiety for our patients. However, it is encouraging to see that the efforts the staff in UHL made to support patients in keeping in touch with their loved ones have been recognised in these survey results. Patients also reported improvements in the cleanliness of their rooms and privacy on the ward, which may reflect the significant investment in infrastructure with the addition of 98 single rooms since the previous survey was conducted in 2019.”

“The survey results demonstrate the adverse impact on patient experience of overcrowding in our Emergency Department, particularly concerning patient privacy and dignity. We have, in recent weeks, commenced a new Patient Advocacy and Liaison Services clinic in the ED to provide information to patients and families along with whatever support, advocacy, listening and signposting may be required to help improve their experience in our ED. In common with many hospitals around the country, our discharge planning will be another focus of quality improvement plans at UHL in response to these survey results,” Mr McNamara added.


Cathrina Ryan, Director of Nursing, Nenagh Hospital, said: “We are pleased that the survey results show high levels of patient satisfaction around trust and confidence in our staff; around patient privacy; around staff properly introducing themselves and around pain management. These positive findings reflect specific initiatives undertaken at Nenagh as well as the professionalism and dedication of our staff.

“Listening to the needs of our patients and responding with solutions is fundamental to how we approach patient-centred care at Nenagh Hospital. It is clear from the survey results that there is room for improvement on our discharge planning and on the level of information patients expect around their medications. These areas will be given renewed attention as we continue to develop quality improvement plans and will also be a focus of a new Patient Experience Committee to be established at Nenagh Hospital,” Ms Ryan added.


Joe Cassidy, Director of Nursing, Ennis Hospital, said: “While the pandemic caused so much disruption and anxiety, it is pleasing to see so many patients respond that they were supported in keeping in touch with loved ones and in coping with worries and fears relating to the pandemic. As well as developing a specific COVID pathway, we introduced virtual visiting and window visiting among other supports for patients and families. Ennis also received very positive feedback around cleanliness and privacy.

“In common with other hospitals, the results of the survey identify that further work is required around discharge planning and better informing patients around medications when they go home. In developing quality improvement plans, we will take on board this valuable patient feedback about what is working well in our hospital, and what areas of care we can work to improve,” Mr Cassidy added.


Majella Corkery, Director of Nursing, Croom Orthopaedic Hospital, said: “This was the first such survey conducted since we improved the hospital environment in Croom through the opening of the new theatre suite and the 24-bed Maigue Unit. Patients in Croom expressed a high degree of satisfaction over privacy and cleanliness. The dedication of our workforce is reflected in the very positive findings around trust and confidence in staff and the dignity and respect with which patients felt they were treated.

Patient feedback has also identified areas where we must continue to improve. This includes better information for patients and families on discharge; improving communication between clinical staff and families and around missed meals. These will be a focus of continued quality improvement projects at Croom,” she added.

St John’s Hospital

Noreen Kennedy, Head of Quality Risk and Patient Safety, St John’s Hospital, said:

“The survey results help to provide a clear picture of the quality of services inpatients receive at St John’s Hospital. The findings are again extremely positive, achieving an overall rating of 9.1. The staff have demonstrated that they have continued to treat all inpatients with the highest level of dignity and respect throughout such turbulent and isolating times in healthcare. The survey indicated that inpatients had full confidence and trust in our hospital staff treating them and results show that the overall differences between Covid and non-Covid were minimal, suggesting the care provided was consistent.

“Quality improvement plans are already in place based on the feedback received from the 2021 survey. We are looking forward to commencing the new survey in May 2022. This survey gives us a unique opportunity to continue to gain a better understanding of inpatient experiences in St John’s Hospital and with those experiences, we can continue to pinpoint areas for improvement and affirm positive and good care,” Ms Kennedy added.

NIES 2022

Niamh Hogan, Patient Advocacy and Liaison Services Manager, UL Hospitals Group, encouraged eligible patients to participate in this year’s survey over the coming weeks.

“Almost 1,000 patients across the Group completed the 2021 survey, providing detailed information which we can use to further improve our services. We are also asking patients discharged from our hospitals during May 2022 for their views and observations as we continue this improvement cycle. All eligible patients will have a survey posted to them and they will also have an option to complete the survey online,” Ms Hogan said.

Prof Colette Cowan, CEO, UL Hospitals Group, said: “I thank each of the patients who completed the survey for providing us with such a rich store of information that we can build on to improve the patient experience. In the main, our patients have described, in their own words, excellent care provided by our doctors, nurses and allied health professionals . And they have shared their stories of the professionalism and attentiveness of the support staff who provide their meals and who work tirelessly to keep the care environment safe and clean. Each day, our staff show great commitment to the people of the MidWest and it is heartening to see this reflected in the survey results.”

“It is important that we pay particular attention to those areas where our patients are less satisfied and even dissatisfied with our services. A number of quality improvement plans are being put in place to address areas of concern as identified by our patients. The National Inpatient Experience Survey is one of many means through which we take feedback from our patients. Quality improvement is a continuous cycle and I am encouraging all patients discharged from our five participating hospitals this month to complete the survey for 2022.”