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Patients wait hours in A&E

Published on 07 December 2012 12:00 PM

Patients in the UK have to wait too long for crucial A&E help, with about 33% of patients waiting more than four hours for emergency care, according to a new study by The Care Quality Commission (CQC).


This marks a sharp increase in waiting times compared to 2004, when only 23% of accident and emergency (A&E) patients waited that long.

1 in 20 spend over 60 minuets waiting in ambulance  

Futhermore, almost 25% of patients who are brought to A&E by ambulance have to stay longer than 15 minutes with the ambulance team before their case is transferred to A&E staff.

1 in 20 patients polled waited over 60 minutes.

The study also revealed that 59% of patients were never told how long they would need to wait to be seen by a doctor or nurse.

Of those patients who received prescriptions for medicines, nearly 50% were not cautioned about any potential side-effects.

Confidence in medical staff remains high

Despite these results, most patients said they maintained confidence and trust in the medical staff who helped them.

There was also an improvement in patients' perceptions of cleanliness of A&E departments.

David Behan, chief executive of the CQC, said that the high levels of trust in medical staff and perceptions of cleanliness was encouraging - and that more people than ever say they have sufficient privacy to talk about their health with receptionists.

Commenting on the results, health minister Dan Poulter said: 'Meeting targets and ticking boxes does not ensure good patient care, and we are putting doctors and nurses in charge of making clinical decisions to ensure that the most sick patients in A&E are the highest priority.'

An issue that trusts need to urgently tackle

However, David Behan also said: 'The important issue is that people who need to be treated urgently do not have to wait. It is disappointing therefore that people have said they have to wait longer to be treated than four years ago.'

'People should be seen, diagnosed, treated and admitted or discharged as quickly as possible and this is an issue that trusts need to urgently tackle,'

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham agreed - saying: 'It is becoming clearer by the day - the NHS is struggling and the Government is doing nothing about it.'

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) polled 46,000 patients for the study, which was carried out in 147 NHS trusts with large A&E services.

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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