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The Care Quality Commission checks whether hospitals, care homes and care services are meeting government standards. Visit our website at www.cqc.org.uk.

More people are waiting longer to see a doctor or nurse at A&E departments

6 December 2012

The results of our latest survey show that patients are waiting longer to see a doctor or nurse at accident and emergency (A&E) departments in NHS hospitals.

We collected the experiences of almost 46,000 patients who received care in A&E departments at the beginning of 2012.

The results show that a third of respondents waited more than 30 minutes before they saw a doctor or nurse (an increase from 29 per cent in 2008 and 24 per cent in 2004).

A third of patients also said they spent more than four hours in A&E (up from 27 per cent in 2008 and 23 per cent in 2004).

Nearly a quarter of respondents who were taken to hospital in an ambulance said they had to wait with the ambulance crew for more than 15 minutes before their care was transferred to A&E staff. One in 20 said they waited more than an hour before care was handed over.

However, patients also reported having confidence and trust in the staff in A&E. Seventy-five per cent of patients said doctors and nurses ‘definitely’ listened to them, 83 per cent were told why they needed to take medication and 48 per cent said they had enough privacy when discussing their condition with receptionists.

Other aspects of communication between patients and A&E staff were less positive. More than half of the patients were not told how long they would have to wait to be examined and 44 per cent were not informed about the possible side-effects of the medication they were prescribed.

David Behan, CQC Chief Executive, said: “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."

To find the results of your NHS Trust, search our A-Z list of A&E survey results.