DOCTORS and nurses in the A&E department of St George’s Hospital may be treating people in record time, but now a new report says the care they give their patients is better than a year ago.

An independent survey has found nearly 85 per cent of patients think that the care in A&E is ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.

The poll tops off a triumphant six months for A&E. In the last 16 weeks, emergency teams have seen no fewer than 97 per cent of patients in four hours despite record numbers of attendances.

In early December, emergency teams saw nearly 330 patients in a single day – the highest number of attendances ever recorded.

Welcoming the report, the lead nurse for A&E, Elaine Clancy, said:

“Even though reducing waiting times for our patients was always important, we knew we had to spend an equal amount of effort improving the quality of our clinical care if patients were to receive the top-notch treatment they deserved.

“Now we have this report from our patients who say that the standard of care in A&E has actually improved since 2003 despite more and more people seeking treatment.

“Everyone in the team is understandably thrilled,” she adds.

Over 300 randomly-selected patients took part in the survey, which was carried out by an independent research company five months ago.

Every hospital in England is required to survey their patients by the Healthcare Commission which feeds the polling data into the annual star ratings system.

Patients were quizzed on 60 aspects of their care in A&E, including treatment, the explanation of test results, privacy, and the courtesy of staff.

The hospital received its best scores for waiting times, cleanliness and the time that elapsed before patients were given pain-relieving medication.

  • The number of patients who said they were not told how long they would have to wait for treatment fell from 71.6 per cent to 57.2 per cent.
  • The number of patients who had to wait more than 15 minutes to receive pain medication fell from 41.2 per cent in 2003 to 9.7 per cent in 2004, while the number who said they did not receive the right amount of medication fell from 42.4 per cent to 7.4 per cent.
  • And the number of patients who said the emergency department was not clean fell from 18.6 per cent in 2003 to 10.9 per cent in 2004.

However, the report goes on to highlight several aspects of care that the hospital needs to improve.

“Even though this is a glowing report,” continues Clancy, “there are still some aspects of our care we need to perfect, in particular the way we talk and listen to our patients.

“We will be studying the results of the survey very closely to address the issues that patients have raised.”

St George’s will hold a special event on 19 April 2005 for patients and members of the public to discuss the results of the A&E survey and ways of improving emergency care.

For more information about the event, please contact Martin Emery on 020 8725 0435 or email Or you can write to PALS, St George’s Hospital, Blackshaw Road, London SW17 0QT.