Quality of care is far more important to people than the four-hour waiting time target when they visit A&E, according to a national survey carried out by Healthwatch England.
The findings were published as the government announced plans to review and possibly scrap the target, which has not been met consistently by hospitals across England since 2015.
More than 2,000 people were surveyed by YouGov on behalf of Healthwatch England on 20th January 2019, and asked to rate the importance of 10 measures related to using A&E.
The public's top priorities
1. Ensuring that patients' treatment is of the highest quality (rated as ‘very important’ by 85% of people surveyed)
2. Prioritising the order of patients by the urgency of their cases (79% said this was ‘very important’)
3. Assessing patients quickly on arrival and assuring them that they will be seen in an appropriate timeframe (75% said this was ‘very important’)
‘Treating or admitting all patients within a guaranteed timeframe (currently four hours)’ was near the bottom of people’s priorities, eighth on the list, and only seen by 38% as ‘very important’.
Healthwatch England has submitted the survey findings to government, along with a summary of evidence collected by local Healthwatch in A&E engagement projects.