What makes a good A&E?
In January 2019, Healthwatch England worked with YouGov to ask 2,000 adults from across the country to rank 10 factors that would make a good A&E service.
While all of the options offered were considered important, guaranteed waiting times such as the current four-hour target were considered far less important.
- Ensuring that the treatment patients receive is of the highest quality.
- Assessing patients quickly on arrival and reassuring them they will be seen in a medically appropriate timeframe.
- Seeing patients in priority order – most urgent cases first – even if this means some people may have to wait longer.
- Highlighting that systems are in place to monitor people while they wait in case their condition gets worse.
- Ensuring there are staff on hand to provide support while people wait, such as offering pain relief or providing drinks.
- Giving people an estimated waiting time on arrival and keeping them informed if things change, such as a major incident.
- Making information about current waiting times easily available to people before they turn up at A&E and providing information about alternative services.
- Treating or admitting all patients within a guaranteed timeframe (currently four hours) regardless of what attention is required.
- Reassuring patients that if they end up waiting longer than expected it won’t result in a parking fine in the hospital car park.
— Imelda Redmond, National Director, Healthwatch England