All-clear from A&E patients

Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
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More than 80 per cent of patients have a ‘good experience’ at A&E in Sheffield - with waiting times, standards of privacy and the speed of ambulance handovers all given high marks in an official poll.

Hundreds of people visiting the Northern General Hospital’s accident and emergency unit for treatment were surveyed by the Care Quality Commission to gauge the standard of the city’s services.

The watchdog rated Sheffield Teaching Hospitals as ‘average’ compared with other trusts around the country.

The results showed 80 per cent reported their ‘overall view’ of A&E as good, with nine out of 10 patients saying they were treated with ‘respect and dignity’.

Almost all of the people surveyed were given enough privacy during treatment and said they ‘did not have to wait long’ with ambulance crew before being handed over to hospital medics.

But less than half were told about the possible side-effects of medication prescribed in A&E, or how long they could expect to wait for an examination.

Meanwhile, 50 per cent felt staff ‘considered their family and home situation’ before they left A&E.

Prof Hilary Chapman, the trust’s chief nurse, said the results had improved since the last survey two years ago.

“It is pleasing to see that patients feel the overall quality of their experience has continued to rise since the 2012 survey, and that they rate the A&E service highly in many areas,” she said.

“These results show that staff are continuing to work exceptionally hard to provide the best possible care for patients, despite the pressures of running a very busy A&E department. This positive feedback is a reflection of their dedication.

“Surveys like this are useful in showing where we are doing well and where we can improve even further.”

A questionnaire was sent to 850 people who attended A&E during January, February and March this year. Responses were received from 278 patients.

The emergency departments in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster were also rated as ‘average’ overall.

Prof Sir Mike Richards, the chief inspector of hospitals, said the national results were ‘encouraging’, with better ratings than those of two years ago.

“The findings are set out according to the same key questions we use for our inspections,” he said.