A THIRD of Brits who went to A&E last year could not speak to a nurse or doctor for more than an hour after they arrived, the care watchdog has found.
The Care Quality Commission said NHS patient experience got worse on every measure in 2022.
Patients are waiting longer to see a nurse or doctor in A&E departments[/caption]
The proportion who faced a long wait to see a medic at a major hospital doubled to 32 per cent, from 15 per cent in 2020 and 19 per cent in 2018.
Almost half of patients – 49 per cent – said they thought staff could have done more to relieve their pain while they waited.
Dr Sean O’Kelly, chief inspector at the CQC, said: “It remains extremely concerning that, for some people, care is falling short.
“We cannot afford to ignore the long-term decline shown in waiting times, information provided when people go home, access to pain relief and emotional support.”
The CQC surveyed 36,775 people who went to A&E or urgent treatment centres in September last year – before the winter crisis.
It found that, for major A&E departments, patients’ answers showed a “decline in positivity” on every question that was asked in previous years.
The number of people who waited four hours or more to be examined by a medic rocketed to 17 per cent – one in six – from four per cent in 2020 and five per cent in 2018.
Most people were positive about their discussions with staff and overall experience.
Ambulance and A&E delays were the worst on record last winter – after the survey was done.
The rebound of cold, flu and Covid viruses, as well as a surge in demand from people who stayed away during the pandemic, lumped huge pressure on hospitals.
At the height of the crisis, doctors estimated up to 500 extra people per week were dying because of delays.
A separate report earlier this year found public satisfaction with the NHS is at an all-time low, with 51 per cent of us unhappy with its service.
Saffron Cordery, of NHS Providers which represents hospitals, said: “Urgent and emergency care services are under enormous pressure as demand continues to outstrip capacity.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “A&E performance has improved since this survey was carried out and we are taking immediate action to improve services.
“This will see 5,000 more hospital beds, an expansion of virtual wards, and 800 new ambulances on the road, backed by record funding.”