While the public remained “broadly positive” about their interactions with A&E staff, just under half (45%) said that if they needed attention, they could get a member of medical or nursing staff to help them. Around one in six said they were unable to find help at all.
Unsurprisingly, 15% of those surveyed said their overall length of visit to A&E was more than 12 hours, doubling from 6% in 2020 and 2018.
There was an overall fall in the confidence of patients being treated and the majority of patients said they were not told how long they would have to wait to be examined.
The CQC’s Chief Inspector of Healthcare Dr Sean O’Kelly explained, “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.
“Staff are working extremely hard amidst challenging circumstances. We see that reflected in these results, but also during our inspections and monitoring of services and in the discussions with clinicians in CQC’s emergency medicine specialist advisor forum.”
Commenting on the findings, Royal College of Emergency Medicine (ECEM) President Dr Adrian Boyle said, “These results give a view of Urgent and Emergency healthcare through the eyes of the patient and reflect the challenges medical professionals working in Urgent and Emergency Care experience every day.
“Every clinician wants to provide the best care possible. No-one wants patients to have to wait excessive amounts of time to be treated, or for that treatment to be administered in an environment – such as a corridor – which lacks privacy.”