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Urgent and emergency care survey 2020
This survey looks at the experiences of people using type 1 and type 3 urgent and emergency care services.
Two questionnaires were used, tailored to each service type. Results are reported for each service type 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 treatment centres, and may also be known as minor injury units. The survey only includes services directly run by an acute NHS trust.
The 2020 urgent and emergency care survey received feedback from 41,206 people who attended a type 1 service in September 2020 and 7,424 people who attended a type 3 service in September 2020.
What we found
Most people surveyed continue to be positive about many important aspects of their urgent and emergency care. For example, for both type 1 and type 3 services, most people said that they were treated with respect and dignity, had confidence and trust in the people that treated and examined them and rated their overall experience positively.
Survey findings were less positive, however, for areas of care including people’s perceptions of pain management, emotional support, the availability of staff when they felt they needed attention and information provided during discharge.
- 33% of patients who used type 1 services rated their overall experiences as ‘10’ out of ‘10’, up from 27% in 2016 and 29% in 2018.
- 44% of those who used type 3 services rated their overall experiences as ‘10’ out of ‘10’, up from 33% in 2016 and 37% in 2018.
Interactions with staff
- 81% and 87% of those who used type 1 and type 3 services respectively said they were treated with dignity and respect ‘all of the time’.
- 77% of type 1 patients ‘definitely’ had confidence and trust in the doctors and nurses that examined and treated them. For type 3 services, 82% said this.
- 79% of type 1 patients and 86% of type 3 patients said that health professionals ‘definitely’ listened to what they had to say.
- 84% of type 1 patients said that they were ‘definitely’ given enough privacy when being examined or treated. For type 3 patients, 91% said this.
- 69% of type 1 patients said the A&E department was ‘very clean’, whilst 78% of type 3 patients said this about the urgent treatment centre. For both services, this is an eleven-percentage point increase on 2018 results, likely reflecting enhanced infection control and prevention measures in urgent and emergency care services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Further health and social care
- 76% and 83% of type 1 and type 3 patients respectively said that staff discussed with them if they may need further health or social care services after going home.
- 75% of type 1 patients and 80% of type 3 patients said that the care and support they expected was available to them when they needed it.
Key areas for improvement
- 51% of those who used type 1 services said that if they had any anxieties or fears about their condition or treatment, a doctor or nurse ‘completely’ discussed this with them – a decrease compared to 57% in both 2016 and 2018.
- 60% and 63% of type 1 and type 3 patients respectively said staff ‘definitely’ did everything they could to help control their pain. For type 1 services, 25% said staff did this ‘to some extent’ and 15% said staff did not do everything they could to control their pain (23% and 13% respectively for type 3 patients).
Availability of staff
- While they were waiting to be treated or examined, 45% of type 1 patients who reported that they needed help said that they were unable to get help with their condition or symptoms from a member of staff.
- Later, during their care or treatment, 58% of type 1 patients that reported needing attention said that they were ‘always’ able to get a member of medical or nursing staff to help them.
Involvement and information
- 63% of type 1 patients said that they were ‘definitely’ involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment.
- 23% of type 1 patients said that a member of staff had not told them about what symptoms to watch for regarding their illness or treatment when they went home.
- 40% of type 1 patients said they were not given enough information about medication side effects and just 60% said that staff ‘definitely’ gave them enough information to help care for their condition at home.
How experience varies for different groups of people
Younger people, females, people who reported a mental health condition, people whose attendance lasted more than four hours, and people who had recently visited a type 1 service consistently reported poorer experiences of type 1 services. Similarly, younger people and those whose attendance lasted more than four hours reported poorer experiences of type 3 services.
Results for NHS trusts
Each trust was also provided with a benchmark report for type 1 services, and type 3 services where relevant, which provides more detail about the data.
Results from previous surveys
How will results be used?
We will use the results from the survey in the regulation, monitoring and inspection of NHS trusts. Survey data will be used to help us assess how trusts are performing. Survey data will also form a key source of evidence to support the judgements and inspection ratings published for trusts.
Trusts and commissioners are expected to take action to improve services based on the results.
NHS England and NHS Improvement; and the Department for 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:
- 16 September 2021