A&E patients left waiting in unnecessary pain, watchdog warns

Telegraph 2 weeks ago

A&E patients are enduring long and painful delays, with 60 per cent waiting more than half an hour for an initial assessment, the watchdog has found.

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reveals “concerning” failures to provide sufficient pain relief to patients arriving in distress.

Official guidelines state that pain management should start as soon as patients see a doctor of nurse for the first time.

But the new survey of more than 50,000 NHS users showed 45 per cent were satisfied with the staff had done all they could.

The same report found that in major A&E departments only 32 per cent of patients were seen for an initial assessment within 15 minutes, as rules state they should.

AA further 33 per cent reported waiting more than an hour before they were first examined, including five per cent who said they waited more than four hours.

Overall, most people who answered the survey were positive about their experience visiting A&E or an urgent care or minor injury unit.

Seventy-five per cent who visited a major A&E department said they “definitely” had been given enough time to discuss their condition, while 85 per cent said they felt listened to having visited a minor unit.

Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, welcomed the broader results, but said: “We cannot ignore the increasing impact of lengthy waiting times particularly on those patients attending A&E departments.

“Patients who are seriously ill and need urgent care should be consistently identified in a timely way, so it is concerning that such a low proportion say they waited 15 minutes of less for an assessment.”

He added: “Information provision when leaving hospital and help from staff with pain control were also areas where people were less positive.”

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