Health chiefs defend A&E survey and release local results

Ambulances outside Wigan's A&E department
Ambulances outside Wigan's A&E department

HOSPITAL chiefs have hit back at claims that Accident and Emergency is the most unpopular NHS service by releasing the results of their own survey.

This week, a survey by the Kings Fund found that public satisfaction with A&E services dipped to a five-year low.

Just over half (53 per cent) of people said they were satisfied with the A&E services in 2013 − the lowest level since 2008, according to data from the British Social Attitudes survey.

This compares with 2012, when the survey found 59 per cent of the public were content with A&E services.

However, bosses at Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) say the NHS ‘Friends and Family Test’ shows visitors to hospital wards give an overwhelmingly positive response to the care and treatment provided by A&E services in Wigan.

Asked the question ‘Would you recommend this service to friends and family?, the responses from family members and friends attending Wigan Infirmary A&E during February 2014 were:

A&E Majors – 71 per cent ‘extremely likely to recommend’ (248 responses)

A&E Minors – 76 per cent ‘extremely likely to recommend’ (314 responses)

However, while public opinion is high health chiefs are warning people to use A&E correctly after record numbers of visitors in recent months. A spokesman for WWL said: “The excellent statistics achieved by Wigan Infirmary A&E are significantly higher than the national average of 53 per cent reported in the survey, and are testament to the hard work and dedication of our A&E staff. This excellent performance comes despite the very high levels of demand currently being experienced in A&E.

“We urge the public not to visit A&E unless they have been involved in an accident or it’s a life threatening emergency. If you do attend with a minor injury or ailment you may have to wait a significant period of time.”