Patients’ experience of urgent and emergency care declines
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Patients’ experience of urgent and emergency care declines

Daniel Allen

Care Quality Commission survey shows areas of concern include pain management, privacy and help with communication

Patients’ experience of urgent and emergency care services in England declined last year, according to a survey by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Emergency Nurse. 31, 5, 6-6. doi: 10.7748/en.31.5.6.s2

Published: 05 September 2023


Picture credit: iStock

More than 36,000 people were asked for their views after attending either a consultant-led emergency department (Type 1) or an urgent treatment centre or minor injuries unit (Type 3) during September 2022.

Respondents were broadly positive about their interactions with staff but the results showed a fall in positivity for every question asked where there was a historical comparison.

For example, the proportion of Type 1 patients who waited more than an hour to first speak to a nurse or doctor increased to 32% in 2022. In 2020 the figure was 15% and in 2018, 19%.

Pain management was another area of concern. In the 2022 survey, 51% of Type 1 patients and 58% of Type 3 patients said staff had ‘definitely’ done everything possible to manage their pain. But the 2020 numbers were higher – 60% for Type 1 and 63% for Type 3.

Other areas to show a decline from previous surveys include privacy when patients were discussing their condition with reception staff and help with communication for people with needs related to disability or sensory impairment.

More positively, patients’ trust and confidence in health professionals remained high in the 2022 survey, although there had been a small decline since 2020.

‘These latest survey responses demonstrate how escalating demand for urgent and emergency care is both impacting on patients’ experience and increasing staff pressures to unsustainable levels,’ said the CQC’s chief inspector of healthcare, Sean O’Kelly.

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