Patient experience at Doncaster  Hospitals Trust A&E worsened during pandemic

Patients' experiences at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust A&E worsened last year during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 12:32 pm

However, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine praised emergency departments across England for their work, as patient satisfaction rose nationally amid the pressures and challenges of Covid-19.

The 2020 urgent and emergency care survey received feedback from 41,000 patients across England who attended a type one service – A&E departments, sometimes referred to as casualty or emergency departments – in September last year.

The 266 patients surveyed at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust gave the hospital an average overall experience score of 7.8 out of 10.

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Doncaster Royal Infirmiry

This was down from the grade of 8.1 it received when the survey was last conducted in 2018.

But a third of patients nationally gave their overall experience a perfect score – up from 27% in 2016 and 29% in 2018.

David Purdue, Chief Nurse at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “Throughout 2020, our services have been under significant pressure.

At Doncaster Royal Infirmary we began £1.8 million of building works within our Emergency Department to improve patient pathways, flow and paramedic and ambulance hand over, as well as our assessment areas.

“Unfortunately, as the realities of COVID-19 hit, and arrangements around social distancing and other infection prevention and control precautions were put in place, despite our best efforts this did negatively impact upon the experience of patients and we are sorry that this has been the case.

“While it is very disappointing that we have seen this decline in our scores, we will listen to the experiences of our patients and we are continuing to work hard to make improvements as quickly as possible.”

NHS Providers said the survey highlighted patients' concerns about pain management, emotional support and staff availability.

But given the "extreme and unprecedented pressures" they faced, the membership organisation for trusts in England said the survey results are positive.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, added: "This is testament to the dedication and professionalism of frontline staff who strive to deliver care in the most challenging of circumstances.

"We are also pleased to hear that the biggest positive change in this year's survey findings was in people's perceptions of cleanliness within A&E departments."

Across England, 81% of respondents said they were treated with respect and dignity in A&E all of the time – up from 79% in 2018.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust received an average score of 8.7 out of 10 on this matter– down slightly from 8.9 two years previously.

And patients gave it a mark of 8.7 for its cleanliness, although that was below the national average of 9.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine said emergency departments are performing an "incredible job in difficult circumstances", but noted there are areas for improvement.

Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the RCEM, added: "Many of the areas that are a source of frustration for patients are largely a result of staff shortages.

“It is important that patients have the opportunity to talk through their treatment or condition, that all patients receive the help they need when they need it whether before, after or during their care, and that their pain or condition is managed throughout their time in A&E."