Summary of report content
The Healthwatch Cheshire team of staff and volunteers visit the three A&E departments in Cheshire at the same time on one particular day in order to gain a snapshot of what is happening in our hospitals. On 11th February 2019, Healthwatch Cheshire assisted in engaging with people in the A&E departments across 12-hours from 9am until 9pm. This allowed Healthwatch to capture people coming in both the day time and evening. The research took place on a Monday, as Healthwatch has evidence to suggest that this is a busy day for A&E departments - this can be after people become ill or injured over the weekend or decide that they have not got any better over the weekend, and so decide to go to A&E on the Monday.
In total 209 people responded to the ‘A&E Watch’ survey across the three A&E departments
Across the three A&E departments, a slight majority of people had tried to visit another service before attending A&E, at 52% of people overall. This is an increase on the January 2018 report, when only 41% had tried going elsewhere first.
Significantly, at the Countess of Chester Hospital the number of people visiting another service first has increased by 28% year on year. However, at Leighton Hospital, as the 2018 survey, there is still a larger number of people not attending another service before A&E – 42 people (56%) in 2019, and 20 people (57%) in 2018.
Of those who had visited another service before attending A&E, two-thirds had attended their GP Practice first, whilst one in five people had tried the NHS111 service.
Two-thirds of people who had first attended their GP Practice said that they were advised by their GP to attend A&E.
At the Countess of Chester Hospital and Leighton Hospital, the most common reason people gave for attending A&E without going elsewhere was that ‘It was too urgent/it was an emergency’ (65%). This is in line with the findings of the previous A&E Watch reports.
Across all three hospitals the second most common reason was ‘because it is more convenient’ (21%), which suggests A&E is more accessible for some people than other services.
The majority of people Healthwatch spoke to arriving at A&E by ambulance were at Leighton Hospital. There was a 95% five-star response rating for the care given by ambulance staff for people being taken to Leighton Hospital.
When asked whether they were being kept informed of timings and delays, there was a mixed response, with slightly more respondents at the Countess of Chester Hospital and Macclesfield Hospital saying that they were not being kept informed.
Across all three hospitals over half of people (54%) who responded rated their A&E experience as either 4 or 5 out of 5. Comparatively, in the January 2018 report 71% across the three hospitals rated the service as a 4 or a 5.
47% of people at the three hospitals stated that they had visited A&E in the last 12 months. This an increase on the 39% in 2018 and 36% in 2017.
There was a low response rate to the ‘After Your A&E Visit’ survey, with only 23 completed overall, and none completed by those initially surveyed at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Of those who did respond, when asked about their overall treatment times, almost 56% of people who responded at Macclesfield Hospital were treated and sent home within two hours, and at Leighton Hospital 38% were treated and sent home between 1-3 hours. 46% of people who responded at Leighton Hospital waited over 4 hours to be seen.