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Abstract

Over the last decade policy has emphasised the importance of a good patient experience as a cornerstone of high quality health and social care in the UK, with many initiatives attempting to develop patient-centred practice. More recently, the Francis Inquiry has addressed the significant failings in care identified at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust in England and has been pivotal in raising the importance of patient experience.1 The Francis report made 290 recommendations, with many emphasizing the importance of patient experience through their focus on specific ways in which the quality of experiences can be enhanced, for example, by improving support for compassionate, caring and committed care, achieved through stronger healthcare leadership. The linkages between experience, patient safety and clinical effectiveness have also been emphasized more recently.2 For the first time commissioners in England are working together to set a national level of ambition to improve experiences of care.3 Yet while policy has attempted to place patient experiences at the heart of care, significant challenges still remain before patient experience is fully integrated conceptually and organisationally. We review some of the key challenges in relation to research and consider ways forward.

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