Waiting times in accident and emergency departments are getting longer, according to a national survey.
However, the survey also found most patients still had confidence and trust in the clinicians who treated them and perceptions of the cleanliness of A&E units has substantially improved.
The Care Quality Commission today published results from the fourth national A&E survey, carried out at 147 trusts in England. It involved almost 46,000 people who attended A&E departments during January, February or March 2012.
There has been a large increase in the proportion of respondents who said they spent more than four hours in A&E to 33%, from 23% in 2004 and 27% in 2008
In addition, 33% of respondents said that they waited more than half an hour before they were seen by a doctor or a nurse, up from 24% in 2004 and 29% in 2008
Many respondents were not told how long they would have to wait to be examined, 59%, compared with 56% in 2004 and 2008.
However, the majority of people – 75% up from 74% in 2004 – still felt nurses and doctors had listened to them.
Over 80% of respondents said new medications were completely explained to them before they were discharged and there was a big increase in those saying they had enough privacy when discussing conditions with receptionists, up 7% points, although still only 48%.
CQC chief executive David Behan said: “The important issue is that people who need to be treated urgently, do not have to wait, it is disappointing therefore that people have said they have to wait longer to be treated than four years ago.
“It is however encouraging to see that peoples’ perceptions of trust in clinicians and cleanliness continuing to be high and more people than ever saying that they have enough privacy when discussing conditions with receptionists.”