Health Service Focus

23.10.19

CQC survey shows NHS improvement despite problematic wait times

A national survey, published today (Oct 23) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), shows most people experience good urgent and emergency care, but waiting times are still a problem.

More than 50,000 people, who received urgent and emergency care, took part in a CQC survey covering 132 NHS trusts across England.

Findings show that the majority of their experiences were positive relating to their care and treatment but a significant number reported long waits, particularly in A&E.

The survey, which ran between Oct and Mar 2019, reveals responses from patients who experienced either a major consultant-led A&E department (Type 1) or an urgent care or minor injury unit (Type 3) run directly by an acute hospital trust.

75% of people who attended a Type 1 department reported ‘definitely’ having enough time to discuss their condition with the doctor or nurse. This has risen from 73% who said the same in 2016, the last time the survey was carried out.

A similar number (76%) said that they ‘definitely’ had confidence and trust in the staff treating them, up from 76% in 2016.

Another improvement showed that 79% of participants were treated with respect and dignity ‘all of the time’, up from 78% in 2016.

People treated at a Type 3 service had a similar, positive experience. 85% felt that the staff ‘definitely’ listened to what they had to say and 57% said they were ‘definitely’ given enough privacy when discussion their condition with the receptionist, up from 51% in 2016.

Across the board, results show a rise in the satisfaction of their overall experience, and a rise in the number of people rating their experience a 10 out of 10.

Despite the improvements, the survey revealed some areas where the NHS could improve, most of which on the topic of waiting time.

Regarding the Type 3 service, a third (33%) reported waiting overran hour before they were first examined, including 5% of people who said they waiting more than four hours, up by 1% compared to 2016. 41% said their visit to A&E lasted more than four hours, up 1% compared to 2016.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said:

“I’m pleased to see that the majority of people surveyed continue to report positively about their experience. This is despite the pressures that urgent and emergency care services are under and is a testament to the dedication and hard work of hospital staff across the country."

“However, it is disappointing that in some areas people’s experience continues to fall short. We cannot ignore the increasing impact of lengthy waiting times particularly for those patients attending A&E departments. Patients who are seriously ill and need urgent care should be consistently identified in a timely way, so it is concerning that such a low proportion say they waited 15 minutes or less for an assessment."

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