Understanding people's experiences of attending the Emergency Department at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital

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Summary of report content

During November 2018 the Healthwatch teams from Northumberland and North Tyneside heard from 309 people attending the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) in Cramlington.  They wanted to know about people’s treatment journey as well as their experiences of using NSECH.

A key reason people gave for their use of The Northumbria was the availability of other services. Access to GP services were highlighted as an issue, particularly at weekends and evenings.

NHS 111 was used by 20% of the respondents from North Tyneside and 18% in Northumberland. Most considered their experience to be positive. People were often uncertain about where to go for treatment.

People didn’t understand language used for different services including ‘Urgent Treatment Centre’. They often made their decision on the choice of going to their GP or going to hospital rather than seeing a range of different services based on levels of need.

People discussed positive experiences of using the Paediatric Emergency Department at the Northumbria with a child.

Some patients using The Northumbria were visiting due to it being the closest hospital and not necessarily the one most suited to their health needs.

50% of respondents told us they would have preferred to be treated elsewhere. This including 19% say they thought they could have been treated at their GPs.

80% of the people we spoke to had arrived at The Northumbria by car.  They highlighted concerns about the lack of public transport available and poor bus signage as issues.

Overall, the Healthwatch team found NSECH very clean, well maintained, pleasant and calm, and identified a number of issues including accessibility, limited facilities in waiting areas, including information about triage times and bus times.

The report makes a number of recommendations for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT), North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to improve people’s knowledge of more local alternatives; work with local bus companies to improve public transport access and information and improve the facilities and environment in the waiting areas.

The report includes responses from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) and North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) which indicate that action is being taken on some of the recommendations.

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General details

Report title 
Understanding people's experiences of attending the Emergency Department at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Tyneside
Healthwatch Northumberland
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 13 November, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 November, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 30 November, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Car parking access
Car parking charges
Integration of services
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency

Details about conditions and diseases

What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible impact (not cost related)

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.