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Giving you a voice on health and social care

Two thirds of patients rate Bradford A&E staff attitude as 'excellent'


Healthwatch report on Accident and Emergency Department at Bradford Royal Infirmary

• Two-thirds rate staff attitude as excellent
• Problems identified with waiting times and keeping patients informed
• Most people advised to attend A&E by their GP or other NHS service

Healthwatch Bradford and District, the local independent watchdog for health and social care, has published a report into patient's experiences of using the Accident and Emergency Department at Bradford Royal Infirmary. The Healthwatch team visited the department for a twelve-hour shift in December 2014, and gathered the views and experiences of patients and their families as well as making observations about how well the service was running.

Andrew Jones, manager of Healthwatch Bradford and District, says

"When the team visited A&E, we saw for ourselves the pressures that the department is under and how hard staff at the hospital work to provide excellent care. Most people we spoke to were very positive about the attitude of staff throughout the department.

"However waiting times were a major issue with nearly a third of those who took part in our survey saying these were very poor, and many others saying they were not told about how long they would have to wait.

"We witnessed particular difficulties late in the day with A&E unable to admit very sick people from treatment bays into the hospital which caused the flow of patients through A&E to slow.

"Patients told us they were not given any information about what was happening and this caused anxiety amongst waiting patients."

Locally and nationally there has been a campaign to encourage people to 'choose well' and reduce pressure on A&E departments by using alternative services when they are not seriously ill. Healthwatch found that when they visited the department, the majority of patients they spoke to had come to A&E because they had been referred there from another service such as NHS 111 or their GP surgery.

"Very few people we spoke to could be said to be using A&E 'inappropriately' as most had sought advice before attending, or they had an emergency situation like a road accident or had been brought by ambulance because of a suspected heart attack," said Andrew Jones.

Healthwatch shared their findings with the Trust earlier this year, and they welcomed the insights which will help them in ongoing plans to improve the Accident and Emergency Department.

"We're pleased that the Trust is taking patient feedback seriously and looking to make improvements at the Accident and Emergency Department. Their response indicates that they are already implementing some of our recommendations, such as giving patients more information about waiting times and their progress through the department. A number of our other recommendations drawn from patient feedback will be addressed when the Trust refurbishes the A&E department, planned for summer 2015.

"Healthwatch has a good relationship with the Trust and we'll continue to work with them to secure a better experience for everyone who relies on their services."

Read the full report.