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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS


Home > News > Survey finds the majority of patients transferred between North Cumbria's Hospitals are satisfied with care

Survey finds the majority of patients transferred between North Cumbria's Hospitals are satisfied with care

Posted on Wednesday 19th October 2016
Survey finds the majority of patients transferred between North Cumbria's Hospitals are satisfied with care

Results of a survey looking at patient experience of transfers between West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary has found that the majority of patients remain satisfied with the care they have received.

The survey was first carried out in 2014 after it was commissioned by NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH) to understand how patients felt about the service they received after being transferred for emergency surgery or treatment. It was agreed that the survey should be repeated this year following further work to improve patient transfers including an independent review of a Trust audit and an action plan to ensure that transfers are consistently monitored and any issues are identified.

The survey, carried out by Patient Perspective (an independent company), asked a similar set of questions to the previous survey with some additional questions as requested by the West Cumbrians’ Voice for Healthcare group who worked closely with NCUH to improve the survey. More than 120 people who were transferred between the two hospital sites between 1 August and 26 September 2016 completed a survey.

Some of the results include:

  • 89% said they were given an explanation of why they were being transferred
  • 87% said their relative, friend or carer was informed of their transfer
  • 63% said they were told how long they should expect to wait for the transfer vehicle to arrive
  • 60% said the vehicle arrived on time
  • 72% said they did not experience pain during the transfer
  • 63% said they felt the transfer made it difficult for visitors to come and see them in hospital
  • 70% said their overall experience of transfer was either excellent, very good or good
  • 89% said their care at the Cumberland Infirmary was either excellent, very good or good
  • 69% said they felt staff took into account how far away they lived from the hospital when planning their discharge
  • 93% said their overall care from the Trust was excellent, very good or good

The survey also included two free text questions concerning care received both in hospital and during the ambulance/transfer vehicle journey which usefully highlighted a number of areas for further work. Almost 250 comments were received which will be looked at in detail by NCUH, CCG and North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) in order to understand where further improvements can be made. When asked about care in hospital, the positive comments were mainly concerning clinical care and the staff whilst negative comments including waiting times, communication, discharge, staff shortages and location/distance from home. When asked about the journey in the ambulance/transfer vehicle, again respondents said the staff and care received were positive whilst negatives included the comfort of the facilities and waiting times.

Rod Harpin, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said:

“Alongside our colleagues at NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, and given the importance of our patients’ experience of transfers, we were keen to carry out another survey. We very much welcome the results which demonstrate that the majority of the patients surveyed were broadly satisfied with both their transfer and the care they subsequently received. However, we are aware that there are a number of further improvements that can and should be made including better communication.  

“We have already taken actions this year including introducing more ‘user friendly’ transfer documentation and ‘best practice’ checklists for staff, but we need to go further. We note comments around discharge and waiting times which we are continually striving to improve, and we are keen to ensure that staff routinely take into account where patients live when talking to both them and their relatives, and in planning appointments and discharge arrangements.”

Dr David Rogers, medical director of NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know there is considerable concern about transfers from West Cumberland Hospital to the Cumberland Infirmary. We are keen to see work continue to make more improvements.”

To read the full results of the survey, visit

Transport forms a key part of the current public consultation, Healthcare for the Future in West, North & East Cumbria. To read the public consultation document, visit