Working in partnership with Healthwatch North Tyneside and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, we heard from 309 people over 14 three-hour sessions in the waiting area in the Emergency Department and Paediatrics Emergency Department of the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in November 2018. People had travelled to the hospital independently and told us why they were attending the Emergency Department, what other services they had/tried to access and what they thought could make their experiences of getting care better.
Based on what we heard we produced the report below which includes recommendations that are now being implemented by Northumbria Healthcare, Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups and North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust. Our observations and recommendations:
- We suggest that a system-wide approach is needed to review the information and advice available to support people to get the care they need and help people to navigate themselves through the urgent care system.
- A system wide approach is needed to review the transport issues people have highlighted, particularly public transport access to The Northumbria Hospital. We are pleased to note that Northumbria Healthcare has established a Rural Healthcare Commission and we hope this report will be used to help inform the discussions about transport.
- Changes to the waiting room environment to improve experience and accessibility.
A number of changes have already taken place or are planned to the public waiting areas.