Summary of report content
Healthwatch Cumbria was commissioned by the North Cumbria CCG to deliver a survey to people accessing the Accident & Emergency (A&E) Departments at the West Cumberland Hospital (WCH) and the Cumberland Infirmary (CIC). This work was focussed on understanding the reasons people give for ‘self-presenting’ at A&E, particularly in the evening.
The research took place from 2-15 September 2019, covering 9am-9pm across seven days. There were 243 respondents in total. Almost everyone present in the A&E waiting rooms was interviewed, with exceptions of ambulance arrivals and those who were visibly distressed or vomiting.
The vast majority of people at A&E were attending because of either an accident or illness, or had previously been to the hospital and were returning for further help or treatment. 60% of them had not attempted to see their GP first as they felt A&E was the most appropriate service for them at that time, although comments were made to the effect that they would have gone to their GP if it were more convenient to get an appointment. Those who attended the CIC would have liked to see relevant information displayed, whilst those who attended the WCH would not. This was probably a result of the information board that was already available at the WCH.
Healthwatch Cumbria made eight recommendations based on these findings, predominantly around public awareness and information provision about the relevant services.