CQC publishes the results of the sixth national emergency department patient survey

The survey sought the views of more than 45,000 people who attended emergency and urgent care departments at 137 acute and specialist NHS trusts during September 2016.

The survey findings show that the majority of people who had attended a major consultant-led accident and emergency department said they ‘definitely’ had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses treating them (75%), felt they were treated with respect and dignity ‘all of the time’ (78%) and that they ‘definitely’ had enough time to discuss their medical problem with staff (73%).

However, responses to questions about waiting times, access to pain relief and discharge arrangements were less positive.

Just over half (53%) of people who were discharged home from a major accident and emergency department said they had not been made fully aware of important symptoms to look out for before they left.
Over a quarter (29%) of those people who had requested pain relief medication said that they waited over 15 minutes before they received it and 7% said they did not receive any at all.
Around a third (32%) of patients reported waiting over an hour after arriving at accident and emergency before they were first examined by a doctor or nurse and 4% said they waited more than four hours.
Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:

“This year’s survey shows some very positive results. The fact that the majority of people reported a good overall experience is testament to the efforts and dedication of the frontline staff working in emergency departments across the country to ensure that people receive the care and treatment they need. Those staff should be proud of their achievements.

“The challenge of increased attendances puts huge pressure on emergency departments. The survey questions where patients responded less positively such as waiting times, discharge arrangements and access to timely pain relief are concerning at a time of increased demand when staff are at full stretch.

“I would like trusts to reflect on their survey results to understand what their patients really think about the care and treatment they provide. This will help them to identify where they may be able to take learning from other trusts to support improvements, particularly where that has involved collaboration with other local services to better manage capacity and improve discharge arrangements.”

The survey also included feedback from people that attended a minor injury unit or urgent care centre run directly by an acute hospital trust.

See the full national results for both types emergency care service, as well as individual results for each trust.