G McCorkindale, M O’Neill, I Prain, L Waterhouse
Journal Issue: 
Volume 48: Issue 4: 2018




Background In a recent paper a working group set up by the Lay Advisory Committee of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) had looked into the problems of patients with severe communication difficulties in hospital (J R Coll Physicians Edinb 2017; 47: 211–3). The present online survey expands on this with the objective of garnering the views of physicians on this matter.

Method An invitation aimed at physicians to complete an online survey was made through the recently published paper. The survey was open between September and December 2017.

Results There were 83 completed surveys. A total of 69 of the returns were UK based, with the remainder from Asia, Australia, Africa and non-UK Europe and one unidentified location. The majority (44) were consultants, the remainder included those in core medical training, general practice and psychology. A wide range of medical departments were represented in the returns, with the largest returns coming from care of the elderly and acute medical departments. Four key themes were highlighted by responders: time, training, resources and environment.

Conclusion Based on these results, the working group have embarked upon the next phase of the project with three main tasks: firstly, to work with the RCPE to disseminate the survey findings to a wider audience; secondly, to collate the detailed suggestions for improvement to be used alongside the survey findings and any subsequent documentation or advice; thirdly, to formulate with the RCPE a strategy to promote good practice in hospitals related to the experiences of patients with severe communication difficulties.