Using the FFT free text to delve deeper into A&E patient experience

Trust/Practice: Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust have performed strongly in delivering the 4-hour target for A&E, and for a considerable period delivered the highest performance across all London acute trusts.

Despite this strong performance, the trust noticed that it was getting average scores for the A&E FFT. They had also observed a decline in the scores over a 12-month period.

To address this, the trust approached Healthwatch Sutton to see if they could gather more detailed evidence of the main issues relating to the A&E service that they provide.

To understand which specific areas of the A&E service should be involved, analysis was carried out using approximately 15,000 A&E FFT responses that had been collected by the trust during the previous 12 months. Specifically, the free text responses were narrowed down to those individuals that had expressed a negative response. Over 1,000 responses were categorised into specific themes of concern, and from these Healthwatch Sutton developed a series of questions that could be used to gather a greater insight into the experience of patients using A&E. Questions were themed around several areas including: experience of waiting, satisfaction with staff and consistency of information provided. In total, 87 responses were received to the survey and these were used to make a series of recommendations to help improve aspects of the service.

See the Healthwatch Sutton website for the full report.