MAJOR NATIONAL SURVEY SHOWS PEOPLE HAVING TO WAIT LONGER TO SPEAK TO A DOCTOR OR NURSE AND THEIR STAY IN ACCIDENT AND EMERGENCY DEPARTMENTS IN ENGLAND IS GETTING LONGER

A national survey of NHS accident and emergency (A&E) departments has shown that waiting times are getting longer. However most people surveyed said that they still had confidence and trust in the health professionals who treated them. Perceptions of the cleanliness of A&E units have also substantially improved from previous surveys.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) today (Thursday) published results from the fourth national accident and emergency (A&E) survey, carried out by 147 acute and specialist NHS trusts with major accident and emergency departments in England. Almost 46,000 people who attended A&E departments during January, February or March 2012 completed the survey.

The majority of people (75% up from 74% in 2004) still felt that that doctors and nurses had listened to them (75% said ‘definitely’), new medications were completely explained to them before they were discharged (83%) and there was a big increase in those saying they had enough privacy when discussing conditions with receptionists (up 7% points, although still only 48%).

However, there are some key areas that have continued to get worse since the 2004 survey:

 

  • There has been a large increase in the proportion of respondents who said they spent more than four hours in A&E to 33% from 23% in 2004 and 27% in 2008
  • 33% of respondents said that they waited more than half an hour before they were seen by a doctor or a nurse, up from 24% in 2004 and 29% in 2008
  • Many respondents were not told how long they would have to wait to be examined, 59% compared with 56% in 2004 and 2008.

Other areas where improvements are required included 24% of respondents who travelled to hospital in an ambulance said that they had to wait with the ambulance crew for more than 15 minutes for their care to be transferred to A&E staff, 5% said that they had waited more than an hour with the ambulance crew and almost half (48%) of all respondents said that they did not feel their home or family situations were considered prior to them leaving hospital.

David Behan, Chief Executive, CQC said: “The important issue is that people who need to be treated urgently, do not have to wait, it is disappointing therefore that people have said they have to wait longer to be treated than four years ago. People should be seen, diagnosed, treated and admitted or discharged as quickly as possible and this is an issue that trusts need to urgently tackle. It is however encouraging to see that peoples perceptions of trust in clinicians and cleanliness continuing to be high and more people than ever saying that they have enough privacy when discussing conditions with receptionists.

“CQC is committed to reflecting the experiences of people who use services in our inspection work.”

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