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Trust on target for even better results

Posted: 17 October 2017
Valerie Hill, Communications Apprentice

Feedback from patients who used Watford General Hospital’s emergency services last summer has been published, showing an overall positive picture.

Picture of watford hospitalDeputy Chief Nurse Maxine McVey said: “We are putting a huge amount of effort into making sure that patients coming to us via the emergency department have the best experience possible. This is not always easy, given how busy we are and the size of the department, which is why we were so pleased to receive 1m from the government to help fund a small expansion.”

The results of last summer’s survey have some plus points as well as highlighting areas where action has been taken and is already having an impact. The survey, organised nationally by the NHS Patient Survey Programme, was sent to 921 patients who had been treated at Watford General Hospital’s emergency department. Responses were received from 262.

Patients were asked to give their overall experience a grade from zero to ten, with zero being the worst and ten the best. Just under six per cent rated their experience a zero, one or two, whereas 65.55 per cent rated it as an eight, nine or 10.

In terms of feeling that they had time to discuss their problem with a doctor or nurse, more than 90 per cent of patients answered ‘yes’ or ‘yes to some extent’ with just over eight per cent disagreeing.

The figures were similar for patients who felt that their condition and treatment had been well explained, with just under 90 per cent agreeing and around ten per cent responding ‘no’.

This pattern was much the same for patients feeling they had been listened to, where more than 90 per cent said ‘yes’ or ‘yes, to some extent’, and less than six per cent responded negatively.

The positive response was also more than 90 per cent for patients who said they had confidence in the staff treating them.

Responding to questions about the cleanliness of the department, less than one per cent said it was ‘not clean at all’, but around half of those asked said it was ‘very clean’ and more than 40 per cent saying ‘fairly clean’. And there was positive feedback regarding privacy, with over 80 per cent saying they had good privacy and more than 12 per cent responding ‘yes, to some extent’.

The time spent waiting was also an area that patients fed back. The majority of patients said they waited less than quarter of an hour to speak to a nurse or doctor. Just under 15 per cent waited more than an hour.

Commenting on this, Maxine McVey said: “We treat patients according to their clinical need, which does mean that some people will wait longer than others.”

She also referred to the time patients had waited for pain relief – more than half said that they had been given pain relief within 15 minutes but just under 30 per cent waited 30 minutes or longer.

“We have made changes to the way we assess patients, introducing a checklist to ensure that we do not delay in giving pain relief. We firmly expect our results in future national surveys to show an improvement in this respect.”

Commenting on the feedback overall, the trust’s deputy chief nurse said: “The staff in our emergency department are pulling out all the stops and are committed to driving through improvements.

“Admissions continue to rise and this is a challenge for us and other emergency departments across the country. The whole trust and partners in the NHS and our local authority are working together to support those patients who are admitted as an emergency.”


  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: communications@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust sees around 600,000 patients a year and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS).