Patient survey places Whittington Hospital A&E in bottom three nationally
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A health campaigner has defended the level of care at the Whittington Hospital after patients rated its A&E department the third worst in the country.
Shirley Franklin, chairman of the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition, has blamed a low response rate to the NHS’s new “friends and family survey” for its position in the table.
The survey, which asks patients if they would recommend Accident & Emergency and inpatient wards to their friends and family, saw the Whittington ranked 144th out of 146 trusts in England for its emergency department in June.
The Archway hospital has not been placed highger than the bottom 20 for its A&E service in any of the three months in which NHS England has run its new survey, giving patients a “real voice”.
However, the response rates to its A&E survey, with just 5.7, 4.6 and 3.4 per cent of eligible patients taking part in April, May and June respectively.
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Just 176 out of 5,253 A&E patients responded in June, with 54 negative responses.
Ms Franklin said: “With such a low response rate, people will do it around a moan rather than to say it’s good.
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“In A&E the number of doctors and nurses went down.
“The medical teams are committed to having good service.
“It’s a shame they’ve got these scores, it’s a hospital that has good quality.
“I don’t think people see the staff as uncaring or dismissive.”
The trust fared far better with inpatients, with 342 people saying in June that they were “extremely likely” or “likely” to recommend the hospital’s services.
Whittington Health, the trust that runs the hospital, also received patient comments about services.
Cassie Williams, the trust’s head of patient experience, said: “The test has given us some really positive feedback.
“We recognise the [A&E] score needs improvement; we were disappointed with that.
“We’ve experienced an increase in people being admitted in the last few months.”
She said the hospital would increase the number of kiosks in which people can respond to the survey in A&E wards.
A Whittington Health spokesman said: “Like many A&E departments, we continue to see phases of increased attendance to our emergency department.
“Some of these increases can be attributed to the recent heatwave, and this continues to be monitored.
“To handle the extra demand, we have brought in additional staff, particularly in the evenings when attendance in the emergency department tends to increase.”