A&E survey says services are largely caring

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

According to a recent national Accident and Emergency patient survey 8 out of 10 respondents rated their overall experience as good (giving it 7 or more out of 10). Only 3% of patients said the doctor or nurse who treated them did not listen to what they had to say.

A&E is one of the eight core services that CQC inspect and rate as part of its inspections of acute hospitals. The national findings are presented under the questions CQC inspectors ask about A&E departments: are they safe, caring, effective and responsive to people’s needs.


  • 79% of patients reported that they were treated with respect and dignity all of the time
  • 75% of patients ‘definitely’ had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses examining them.
  • 86% of patients said staff explained the purpose of the medication in a way they were able to understand.
  • 41% said that the side effects of their medicine were not explained to them and 42% said they were not told when they could resume normal activities.


  • 40% of patients waited less than 15 minutes to speak to a doctor or nurse when they first arrived, with almost three-quarters waiting less than one hour to be examined by a doctor or nurse.
  • Around 41% of patients arrived at A&E in an ambulance. Of these, around 11% said they waited over 30 minutes for their care to be handed over to the A&E staff and 5% experienced waiting times of over an hour.
  • The large majority 94% of patients did not feel threatened by other patients or visitors, but 2 per cent did.


  • 79% of patients said they got their pain relief medication within 30 minutes. However, 13% of people who requested pain relief medication waited for more than 30 minutes.
  • 63% of patients thought that staff did everything to control their pain but 13% said that staff did not do enough.


  • 66% of patients said that their visit to the A&E department lasted less than four hours.
  • Most patients, 82% reported having enough privacy when being examined or treated. However, the figure was much lower (53%) when asked about discussing their condition with the receptionist.

With regards to the survey, Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:

“Overall the results of this survey are encouraging, with better results in 2014 than in 2012 despite the known increase in pressures on A&E departments. However, we do see significant variations between trusts. This highlights the need for all trusts to review their own results and to take action where necessary. The findings are set out in the report according to the same key questions as we use for our inspections. This will assist us in making judgements about the quality of individual A&E services.”

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