What people are saying about being neglected or dismissed

Empty beds in a hospital ward

Headlines
I’m dismissed, not taken seriously or not listened to
I’m not being listened to
I’ve received poor or unacceptable treatment and care
It’s because staff are overstretched
I have to fight for the care I need

I’m dismissed, not taken seriously or not listened to

Many people share this experience, which chimes with Engage Britain’s survey where one in four adults (27%) experienced being dismissed or not taken seriously by a doctor, nurse or healthcare worker in recent years.

For some, doctor appointments are not long enough. Others find their GP rude. A survey by BritainThinks for the Richmond Group of Charities found a quarter of people (25%) think their GP appointments feel rushed.

Patients tell of being told off, patronised or told their problem is not as bad as they are making out. In extreme cases people have been accused of fabricating their experiences.

This can have grave consequences. Being dismissed can lead to misdiagnosis and untreated conditions worsening.

Those that can afford to pay for private healthcare to get the treatment they need. All because they are not taken seriously.

This experience is not uncommon: one in five of us (21%) has had to pay for private health treatment because we couldn’t get the treatment we needed on the NHS (Engage Britain survey).

I’m not being listened to

In particular, Disabled people and elderly people are not properly consulted on their care support needs.

Those with long-term conditions or poor mental health are also dismissed repeatedly because their conditions are not well enough understood.

People from certain backgrounds are more likely to have this experience. Particularly women and those who are Asian, Black, Chinese, mixed ethnicity or from another ethnic group.

Almost every other woman aged between 18 and 34 (45%) has been dismissed or not taken seriously by a healthcare worker in the last five years (Engage Britain survey).

I’ve received poor or unacceptable treatment and care

Often these experiences are rooted in people not being listened to or consulted by health and care staff.

This could be a botched operation, carers not visiting when they’re supposed to, or incorrectly prescribed medication.

It is worse for some areas of health and care than others. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found that one in five people (20%) who had been in the care of an NHS mental health service did not feel safe.

It’s because staff are overstretched

Patients, people with care needs, loved ones and staff often think the poor care they receive – or the experience of being dismissed – is down to staff being under so much pressure.

Staff themselves feel the quality of care they can provide is negatively affected by how little time they have to give each person.

Properly explaining treatments to people or reassuring them are the things that can drop off when they’re under time pressure.

The pandemic has made this worse. Perceptions of how well hospitals, GP surgeries and ambulance services are managing fell significantly between May and November 2020 (The Health Foundation and Ipsos MORI).

I have to fight for the care I need

There’s a link between the ability to articulate yourself, and the quality of care you can get.

People point out that the system relies on you to fight for the care you receive.

It also privileges those who speak English as a first language, the well-educated and those who have loved ones who can advocate for them.