* Patients satisfied with clinical care on NHS, but feel softer aspects could be improved

* People want clean wards and to be treated with dignity

* 95% of people receiving private treatment felt they were treated with dignity, compared to 41% of those in NHS hospitals

Research by Saga Health Insurance shows almost three quarters of over 50s have received medical treatment in the last ten years, and the majority of those feel that being able to communicate with doctors and nurses is just as important as the clinical care they receive.

99% of people rated clinical care and communication as the most important aspects of their hospital stay. The good news is that people treated in an NHS or private hospital believe they receive good clinical care (NHS 90%, private 96%), however Saga's survey revealed that hospital staff in private hospitals outperform those in NHS hospitals when it comes to communicating with patients. Some 96% of people felt they were able to discuss procedures and treatments with doctors and nurses in private hospitals, while only 70% of people felt they were able to do this in NHS hospitals.

In fact, when it comes to hospital treatment it’s the simple things that people want, like staying on clean wards (96%), being treated with dignity (83%) and not waiting too long for treatment (74%).

Research shows that paying for medical treatment doesn’t just reduce waiting times, as people treated in private hospitals were more likely to say they were treated with dignity (private 95%, NHS 41%), have some privacy (private 96%, NHS 29%) and get a good night’s sleep (private 83%, NHS 24%) than those treated in NHS hospitals.

NHS LogoDespite the pressure the NHS is excelling in some areas, as 79% of people think the nurses are friendly and 69% say the wards are clean. However, two fifths of people think the pressure has been too much and believe the NHS has got worse over the last year and only a third believe it will get better in five years time.

Tim Pethick, director of strategy, Saga Group, commented: “There is no doubt that the NHS has delivered 65 years of fantastic service, but private hospitals seem to be leading the way in delivering excellent communication and customer service. Treating people with dignity and spending time talking about treatment, as well as being able to have friends and family around and getting a good night’s sleep really does make all the difference, at what can be a very difficult time.”

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