In September 2019 Healthwatch Doncaster volunteers undertook a project aimed at gaining the patient’s perspective around the delivery of Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) services in Doncaster. Volunteers spoke to patients and relatives at the point of service delivery and at a range of locations. At the time a review of UEC services by the commissioners was taking place, looking at possible alternative ways of service delivery.
It was agreed that after 12 months the project would be re-created in order to measure the impact of any changes to patient experience, either as a result of the review or Healthwatch Doncaster’s recommendations.
Unfortunately the Covid-19 Pandemic has meant that we were unable to conduct the follow up project face-to-face. However, not to be deterred the Project Lead devised a method of enabling us to engage remotely with service users. This involved working co-operatively with the service providers to gain patient consent to be contacted by a volunteer, on the phone, to discuss their experience.
Patients told us about issues that they felt could be reviewed in order to improve their experience of using out of hours and emergency services.
As a result we would recommend that some consideration be given to the following:
Where it is obvious that a patient is confused, extremely unwell or unable to understand the clinician due to them (the clinician) wearing a mask that the person accompanying the patient be permitted to, where the clinician feels it appropriate, be present during the triage process. This would help ensure that the patient knows what that they are being asked and are responding accordingly, hopefully leading to a quick and accurate diagnosis.