The worst Accident & Emergency units in the country are named, as new figures suggest patients are routinely spending more than a full day in casualty
More than 600,000 patients a year are being forced to wait more than 24 hours in Accident & Emergency departments, suggests a new report which names the worst units in the country.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report on A&E comes amid growing concern that casualty units are buckling under the strain even before winter sets in.
The survey of almost 40,000 NHS patients names the 10 hospitals in the country with the lowest ratings from the public.
The worst score goes to Tameside Hospital Foundation trust, in Greater Manchester followed by Medway Foundation trust, in Kent.
Both were put into special measures during summer 2013 amid concern over failings in care and high death rates.
In November an investigation by The Telegraph found A&E patients waiting up to 35 hours at Medway trust, which in September was responsible for almost one quarter of the country’s long trolley waits.
Other poor performers include Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals trust, in East London, which recently had one of the worst records in the country for trolley waits of up to 12 hours, with 186 such cases in the week ending 23 November. Croydon Health Services trust and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals trust also fared badly, according to the scores provided by their A&E patients.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “It is outrageous that more than 600,000 people a year are waiting at least 24 hours in A&E.
“Long waits in emergency departments are hugely distressing for patients, who are at their most vulnerable,” she said. “Time spent waiting on hospital trolleys robs patients of their dignity and causes additional and unnecessary suffering.”
The charity called for urgent changes in the way the NHS is run to improve access to care outside hospitals.
Last week NHS England statistics revealed a record number of hospital admissions last week – 109,273 – and far higher numbers of long trolley waits compared with this time last year.
The week before the numbers waiting up to 12 hours was twice that in 2013, triggering fears that parts of the NHS were entering a crisis even before winter sets in.
The new report from CQC surveyed 40,000 visitors to A&E about their experiences.
Prof Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said the results found “significant variations” between trusts.
More than one in three patients said they had spent at least four hours in A&E.
In total, nine per cent of patients said they had spent at least eight hours in the casualty unit, including three per cent who said they had been there for 24 hours.
With 21 million visits to A&Es in England each year, it suggests that almost 2 million people could be facing waits of more than eight hours, including 650,000 enduring stays of more than a day in casualty.
The report also names the hospitals with the best scores for A&E, as rated by their patients.
Dorset County Hospital Foundation trust fares best, followed by Salisbury Foundation trust, Taunton and Somerset Foundation trust, Royal Surrey County Hospital trust, Cambridge University Hospitals Foundation trust and South Tees Hospitals Foundation trust.
The CQC survey found that more than one in 10 patients arriving at A&E by ambulance had to wait at least half an hour to be handed over to casualty staff. One in 20 cases reported waits of more than one hour.
The majority of patients were positive about the attitudes of staff. On average, 79 per cent of patients reported that they were treated with respect and dignity.
A spokesman for Tameside Hospital Foundation trust said: “We accept the findings by the CQC into patients’ experience within our A&E department. These figures relate to the period January to March 2014 and reflect a transitional period within the department at that time. The CQC has since rated the A&E department as ‘good’ (July 2014); and we continue to work very hard to improve patient experience across the hospital as part of our journey of improvement.”
Ministers have announced an extra £700m for the NHS to help it through this winter.
Tomorrow, the Chancellor is expected to announce an extra £2bn for 2015/16 in funding for the NHS.
Professor Jonathan Benger, National Clinical Director for Urgent Care at NHS England, said: “It is great to see such good feedback from the public about A&E services.”
He said the report showed that despite increased pressures on services, NHS staff were “continuing to do an excellent job”.
10:00PM GMT 02 Dec 2014