Results from CQC’s urgent and emergency care survey 2022 reveal key areas for improvement and positive takeaways in interactions with staff

Results from CQC’s urgent and emergency care survey were published last week for 2022, highlighting that “results have declined for all questions evaluating care” for those attending Type 1 services including A&E departments; as well as providing positive feedback surrounding privacy and interactions with staff across Type 1 and Type 3 services.

The survey utilised two questionnaires, tailored to Type 1 services including A&E departments and Type 3 services including NHS trust urgent care centres. It received feedback from 29,357 people who attended a Type 1 service in September of 2022, and 7,419 people who attended a Type 3 service in September of 2022.

The broad findings of the survey were that “people’s experiences of urgent and emergency care are worse than in previous years”, and that “this applies more so to results for Type 1 services, where results have declined for all questions evaluating care”. For Type 3 services in “some aspects of care”, “results have remained positive, such as being listened to by health professionals”.

The positive takeaways from the survey related to positive interactions with staff and privacy. 84% of patients who used Type 3 services felt health professionals “definitely” listened to them, and 80% of Type 3 patients “definitely had enough time to discuss their condition with a health professional”, although this was notably lower than the 85% recorded in 2020. 79% of Type 3 patients also reported “definitely” having confidence and trust in health professionals, which was also lower than the 82% recorded in 2020. Finally, 88% of Type 3 patients said they were “definitely” given enough privacy when being examined and treated, “although lower than 91% in 2020”.

Key areas for improvement were identified as waiting times, availability of staff, privacy, meeting individual needs, pain management, interactions with staff, and information given before discharge. For example, 51% and 58% of Type 1 and Type 3 patients respectively said staff “definitely did everything they could to help control their pain”, compared with 60% and 63% respectively in 2020. Results also showed that 51% of Type 1 and 65% of Type 3 patients were “definitely given enough information to care for their condition at home”, compared with 60% and 70% respectively in 2020.

Other areas of specific concern include the length of waiting times for Type 3 services. The survey refers to the urgent treatment centres standards, which outline that people with an appointment should be seen and treated within 30 minutes. In contrast, findings showed that “10% of people with an appointment waited more than 2 hours to first speak with a health professional”, compared with 3% in 2020. Elsewhere, fewer people felt that they received emotional support when using Type 1 services; and only 40% of those using Type 1 services were “completely told about medication side effects” when being prescribed medication.

Findings from the survey were also broken down by trust, with coverage of Type 1 services by trust available here, and Type 3 services by trust available here.