Belfast Telegraph

It's a good start, but care can and must be better

By Louise Skelly

We really welcome all the positive changes made at Antrim Area Hospital emergency department and the initiatives put in place to improve the patient experience.

Between April and June no patient had to wait more than 12 hours for treatment, which is encouraging.

But we still need to see improvement in the four-hour target, which is currently not being met.

We know from our work with patients and their families that emergency departments need to change.

Patients want fast and effective treatment times, a more efficient triage system and better prioritisation of patients.

Recently we spoke to more than 4,000 people to find out their experiences of urgent care for a report entitled Care When I Need It.

The report revealed that while the emergency department is many people's first choice for urgent care, a number of concerns about this service were raised.

The main issue for people was waiting times to see a doctor or for treatment.

They also voiced concerns about the environment in which they had to wait, highlighting safety, comfort, cleanliness and patient facilities.

People are often unsure of the best place to go for treatment, with limited advice and information available.

We have called on health and social care organisations to make better information available to patients and their families on where they can get the right treatment at the right time and in the right place.

The Patient and Client Council is continuing to engage with people to understand their experience of this service.

If anyone has any concerns please contact us on 080 0917 0222.

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