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Urgent and emergency care survey 2018

  • Public,
  • Urgent care

Read the results of our survey, which looks at the experiences of people using type 1 and type 3 urgent and emergency care services.

Two questionnaires were used. The surveys were tailored to each service type and results are reported separately at trust and overall England level.

  • Type 1 services include A&E departments, and may also be known as casualty or emergency departments.
  • Type 3 services include urgent care centres, urgent treatment centres and minor injury units. The survey only includes services that are directly managed by an acute NHS trust.

Eligibility and participation

  • Number of participants:
    • Type 1: 42,707
    • Type 3: 7,419
  • Response rate:
    • Type 1: 30%
    • Type 3: 29%
  • Age range: 16 years and older
  • Time period: people who used services in September 2018
  • Eligibility: people aged 16 years or older
  • Exclusions: anyone who had a planned attendance at an outpatient clinic run within A&E (such as a fracture clinic); patients who were admitted to hospital via Medical or Surgical Admissions Units and therefore have not visited A&E or an urgent care centre, patients attending primarily to obtain contraception (for example, the morning after pill), patients who suffered a miscarriage or another form of abortive pregnancy outcome while at the hospital, and patients with a concealed pregnancy.

Key findings for England

As with the previous survey carried out in 2016, the majority of people were positive about most aspects of the urgent or emergency care they received. Results across both type 1 and type 3 services have remained generally stable and have not significantly changed between 2016 and 2018.

Respondents in both the type 1 and type 3 surveys were very positive when answering questions about their interactions with staff. For example, the majority of respondents ‘definitely’ felt listened to, ‘definitely’ had confidence and trust in the staff examining and treating them and felt they were treated with respect and dignity ‘all of the time’. Staff are also generally providing clear explanations to most people about their treatment.

The survey results suggest there is scope for improvement in a number of areas across both service types, including:

  • waiting times
  • help from staff to control their pain
  • information provision when leaving A&E or the urgent care centre

Certain groups of patients consistently reported poorer experiences of urgent and emergency care services, including:

  • younger type 1 respondents (aged 16 to 35)
  • type 1 respondents who said that they had been to the same A&E about the same condition or something related to it within the past week
  • for both type 1 and type 3 respondents, people whose visit to A&E or the urgent care centre lasts for more than four hours

For more information, please see the statistical release, which provides the results for all questions and contextual policy information.

For more information about the methodology for the survey, analysis and reporting, please see the quality and methodology document.

Results for NHS trusts

These results show how trusts performed on individual questions in the survey. The technique used to analyse these results allows us to identify which trusts we can confidently say performed 'better', 'worse' or 'about the same' when compared with other trusts.

Trust level results for type 1 and type 3 services are provided separately. All 132 trusts had a major A&E/type 1 service. 63 of these trusts directly managed a type 3 urgent care service, so also have results for these.

Each trust was also provided with a benchmark report which provides more detail about the data. You can view these reports on the NHS surveys website.

Download the technical document below for detailed information on how we analysed the trust results.

This report identifies those trusts whose patients experience care that is better, or worse than expected when we compare the survey results across trusts.

Open data

Find the data published in the overall report for England and the data for each trust.

The file below contains the data for England:

The file below contains the trust level data:

The anonymised respondent level data sets are made available via the UK Data Archive.

Results from previous surveys

The results for the 2016 survey can be found on the NHS Surveys website. From here you can also access results for surveys carried out in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014. However, please note that due to redevelopment work carried out ahead of the 2016 survey, results from 2018 are only comparable with 2016. Please also note that no trust level results were published for type 3 services in 2016.

Pre-release access list

You can find a list of individuals that had access to the results of the survey prior to publication below.

How the results will be used

The Care Quality Commission will use the results from this survey in the regulation, monitoring and inspection of NHS acute trusts in England. Survey data will be used in CQC Insight, an intelligence tool which identifies potential changes in quality of care and then supports deciding on the right regulatory response. Survey data will also be used to support CQC inspections.

Other organisations

The organisations below will use the results in the following ways.

NHS trusts
Trusts, and commissioners, are expected to act to improve services based on the results.

NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department of Health and Social Care
Information collected nationally in a consistent way is essential to support public and Parliamentary accountability. The results are used by NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department of Health and Social Care for performance assessment, improvement and regulatory purposes.

Last updated:
26 February 2020