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National A&E patient survey says services are largely caring

2 December 2014
  • Public

A national Accident and Emergency (A&E) survey says 8 out of 10 respondents rate their overall experience as good (giving it 7 or more out of 10 ) with only 3 per cent of patients saying the doctor or nurse who treated them did not listen to what they had to say.

We've published the results from the fifth accident and emergency (A&E) survey. You can look at the results for your local hospital to see how it compares with the last survey in 2012.

A&E is one of the eight core services that we inspect and rate as part of our inspections of acute hospitals. Patients' experiences of care are a key aspect in determining these ratings, and we asked 35 questions to almost 40,000 people.

The national findings are presented under the questions inspectors ask about A&E departments: are they safe, caring, effective and responsive to people's needs. The survey does not ask questions directly about aspects of 'well-led'. This reflects the focus of the survey on the experiences of patients.


79 per cent of patients reported that they were treated with respect and dignity all of the time and 75 per cent 'definitely' had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses examining them.  86 per cent of patients said staff explained the purpose of the medication in a way they were able to understand. Just over 4 in 10 (41 per cent) said the side effects of their medicine were not explained to them or they were not told when they could resume normal activities (42 per cent).


40 per cent of patients waited less than 15 minutes to speak to a doctor or nurse when they first arrived, with almost three-quarters (73 per cent) waiting less than one hour to be examined by a doctor or nurse. Around 4 in 10 patients (41 per cent) arrived at A&E in an ambulance. Of these, around 1 in 10 patients (11 per cent) said they waited over 30 minutes for their care to be handed over to the A&E staff and 5 per cent experienced waiting times of over an hour. The large majority (94 per cent) of patients did not feel threatened by other patients or visitors, but 2 per cent did.


Almost 8 out of 10 patients (79 per cent) said they got their pain relief medication within 30 minutes. However, 13 per cent of people who requested pain relief medication waited for more than 30 minutes. While 63 per cent of patients thought that staff did everything to control their pain, 13 per said that staff did not do enough.


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

Commenting on the findings, 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."

12 trusts achieved 'better than expected' results for 7 or more (20 per cent) of the 35 questions in the survey with a score. For the 2014 A&E survey, Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust have the highest numbers of 'better than expected' results of all trusts.

Last updated:
29 May 2017