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A snapshot of A&E services in Liverpool

01/08/2017

On Monday 17 July staff and volunteers from 8 local Healthwatch from across Merseyside and Cheshire visited every A&E department in the region to talk to patients about the reasons for their visit.

From Southport to Countess of Chester, Alder Hey to Warrington, the local health and care champion encouraged patients to tell their stories as part of the #ItStartsWithYou campaign launched to highlight the difference patient feedback can make.

In total we spoke to nearly 350 people across the region to create a snapshot of A&E usage on a Summer weekday afternoon.

In Liverpool, we visited the Royal Liverpool Hospital, Aintree Hospital and Alder Hey Children's Hospital A&E departments as well as the Gynaecology emergency department at Liverpool Women's Hospital. Here's what we found on the day:

Of the 112 people we spoke to, 3/5 (60%) had been advised to attend A&E by another NHS service such as a GP, ambulance service or NHS 111.

The next most common reason for attending was that the issue felt too urgent to go elsewhere (1/4).

Only 5% of patients we spoke to said that they were using A&E as a result of being unable to get a GP appointment. We were pleased to see such a low figure and this may reflect an increased investment by Liverpool CCG in the number of GP appointments available. We are conducting more detailed research into the availability of GP appointments that will provide a greater insight into this.

The results of our survey in Liverpool hospitals reflects favourably with hospitals in the wider Merseyside and Cheshire region where a slightly higher proportion of patients said that they had attended A&E because they had been unable to get a GP appointment.

In addition to the survey questions asked on the day, we also sent patients away with a feedback form to return at a later date asking how long patients had to wait to be seen and what they thought about the care that they received. These feedback forms are still coming in.

We've already begun feeding the findings back to each hospital visited; contributing to discussions within the NHS about A&E services and pressures on health services.

If you've used A&E services recently, we still want to hear from you. Get in touch!

What's next?

We will be visiting Walk in Centres during the autumn to ask similar questions and will be returning to A&Es during the winter to get a second snapshot at a very different time of year. Keep an eye on the website for more details.

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