By Dr Barney Gilbert, NHS doctor and founder of Forward.
Recently the NHS published their latest figures on A&E and urgent care patient experiences – and patient experience has declined.
Patient’s experience of waiting times has worsened in 2018-19 from 2016-17, and the report also showed declines in patients being informed and relationships with staff.
The Care Quality Commission’s Patient Survey is used to create these reports – and they have also published their own report today. This confirms increasing dissatisfaction around waiting times for A&E visits.
Dr Barney Gilbert comments:
“As an NHS doctor, these figures are disappointing yet completely understandable. It’s not that doctors and nurses have started caring less about their jobs or their patients. Instead, these figures are a perfect example of how stretched our NHS clinicians are. In fact, it’s amazing that the results are as favourable as they are. Despite grappling with an under-staffed, under-resourced NHS system, doctors and nurses are burning themselves out in the quest to deliver the best patient care possible.
“But the current situation is simply not sustainable in the long-term: not for individual clinicians, not for the NHS, and not for patients’ themselves. If these figures are to mean something they need to be a wake up call.
“I look around NHS wards and see them filled with the brightest medical talent and the most determined people, who have to watch patients suffer because of the system they are in. It’s not just patients’ hearts that sink as waiting times lengthen – doctors feel it deeply too.
“Yet though the figures are disheartening I refuse to believe they’re fatal. The spirit of the NHS and the people who power it remain committed to delivering the best, most compassionate medical care in the world. What it does mean is clear-sighted appraisal of every process and area to see what needs to be different. That’s the way we get better patient care and better healthcare service”.