Working with other local Healthwatch to provide a snapshot of A&E pressures
On Monday 17 July staff and volunteers from 8 local Healthwatch from across Merseyside and Cheshire will be visiting every A&E department in the region and talking to patients about the reasons for their visit.
From Southport to Countess of Chester, Alder Hey to Warrington, your local health and care champion wants to encourage patients to tell their stories as part of the #ItStartsWithYou campaign launched to highlight the difference patient feedback can make. We will then make sure that what patients say is taken into account when NHS bosses are making decisions about services.
We hope that the simultaneous visits taking place from 1pm-4pm will provide a snapshot of why people use A&E and what people think about things like quality of care and waiting times.
A&E departments are a crucial part of our NHS, open every day of the year, around the clock to deal with our emergency health issues. Any of us may need their help so we all have an interest in them working as smoothly and reliably as possible to make sure that best quality care is available when we need it.
Across the country A&E usage is rising, departments are getting busier, more pressured and waiting times are growing. Frontline staff are working harder to give us the care we need. Even in the summer months – when pressures are generally lower than in winter – some people are still finding themselves facing a long wait.
Sarah Thwaites, Chief Executive of Healthwatch Liverpool says "There are lots of reasons why people may find themselves visiting A&E – an unexpected accident, a sudden deterioration of a long-term health problem, or sometimes a worrying health problem that feels like it can't wait. Sometimes A&E is the best or only place to go. Other times there may have been better options.
"All of the information we gather will be fed back in to services and decision makers to help get our care right in future – in hospitals, GP practices and community health services."
We want to hear from anyone else who has recently used an A&E in the area. The Healthwatch network exists to make it easy for people to give feedback about health and care services, requiring no more than a short telephone call, email or even a Tweet.
We want to hear your views so that they can share with those with the power to make change happen.
Understanding the problem
- A&E departments across the country are busier than ever.
- In the past winter, which brings with it spikes in some health conditions, used to be the main time of pressure
- Now 'winter pressures' come on top of year round pressures and hospitals struggle to see patients within the four hour national target
- There are a number of factors behind A&E performance. The King's Fund have some background information available here: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/urgent-emergency-care/urgent-and-emergency-care-mythbusters#increased
The Healthwatch and A&E departments that will be involved are:
- Healthwatch Liverpool - Royal Liverpool, Liverpool Women's and Alder Hey
- Healthwatch Sefton – Southport A&E
- Healthwatch Knowsley – Aintree A&E
- Healthwatch Halton – Whiston A&E
- Healthwatch Warrington – Warrington A&E
- Healthwatch Wirral - Arrowe Park A&E
- Healthwatch Cheshire East and Cheshire West - Macclesfield, Leighton, Countess of Chester A&E