The purpose of this paper is to identify and investigate the contribution made from the estates services to the quality of the patient experience from the perspective of all estates staff ranging from front‐line staff to directors of estates and facilities. The work is exploratory in nature owing to no known earlier studies in this area.
A postal questionnaire is distributed to a non‐random self‐selecting group of National Health Service (NHS) estates staff – therefore those staff working in the areas of maintenance, engineering, building, gardening and general office estates management. A total of 920 questionnaires are distributed to the 46 NHS trusts. There are 202 responses, which is a return rate of 22 per cent.
It is clear that overall estates staff consider their job/service to be important to the patient experience, 94 per cent of respondents indicate they did. This is further confirmed by 82 per cent of estates line managers considering their job to be important to the patient experience. In terms of how estates feel they contribute to the patient experience, there is a range of responses, however the main reason highlighted is the recognition that the hospital could not function without the service being provided, i.e. the maintenance of essential services, water, power and the general infrastructure. Estates departments perhaps need on patient awareness of the services they provide and the importance of them in making the hospital function.
The results presented provide a useful insight into how estates departments in the NHS perceive their contribution to the patient experience. However, they are not without limitations. First, the sample size is relatively small; and second non‐random sampling techniques are used.
The findings suggest a number of avenues for future work. The most obvious would be to investigate the level of awareness from patients regarding estates services in the NHS.
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