To inform NHS England's Clinical Review of Standards, we have been helping to understand the impact of potential new targets by finding out what matters most to patients and the public when it comes to A&E.
The purpose of our research is not to argue for or against replacing the current four-hour target, but to inform the ongoing debate.
Our research adds to previous work by providing analysis of 330 patient interviews carried out by local Healthwatch in six of the 14 hospitals testing proposed A&E targets. We also look at 6,000 free text comments gathered through the Friends and Family Test, analysed by Healthwatch Suffolk, to contextualise our findings.
The headline message
Time alone doesn't dictate how people feel about their experience of A&E. Overall patient experience is also shaped by:
- The quality of clinical care they receive
- The quality and frequency of the communication
- The attitude of staff and whether they have time to offer empathetic care
- Whether the A&E is working well with other services, such as NHS 111 and GPs
- The quality of the A&E facilities themselves, including things that can make the experience of long waits easier on people, such as access to food and drink.