Survey reveals patients think they will be treated quickly and more thoroughly in A&E

Patients at Queen's and King George Hospitals have said they use A&E for a second opinion

Patients at Queen's and King George Hospitals have said they use A&E for a second opinion - Credit: Archant

Patients have been handed surveys at the doors of Queen’s Hospital and King George Hospital in an effort to understand why so many chose A&E over their GP.

Wanting a second opinion and thinking they will be fully investigated were high on the list of reasons to visit, according to the chief operating officer of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust, Sarah Tedford.

Speaking at the trust’s board meeting last week, she said: “A number of patients know that if they come to hospital they will be seen quickly.

“They know they will be fully investigated and have an answer within four hours and therefore don’t mind waiting.”

The small set of surveys also found some patients had been given a GP appointment but it was too far in the future and did not suit their desired urgency.

“Another thing was that many patients had already seen their GP,” Ms Tedford added. “They then said they wanted to come to A&E for a second opinion.

Non-Executive Director on the board, Mark Lam, asked what was being done with the local community to ensure that A&E was not overburdened.

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It comes as the trust has struggled to cope with the number of patients visiting their A&E departments, consistently failing to meet its four hour wait time target set by the government.

However, the trust reported improved waiting times for March and in an interview earlier this month chief executive Matthew Hopkins said this was continuing to be the case.

Ms Tedford added that there has been a particularly high spend on agency staffing and there are issues around funding of out of hours GP services.

Controversial plans to downgrade King George A&E to a 24-hour urgent care centre are still set to go ahead amid much opposition and raising concerns that the closure will put even more pressure on Queen’s Hospital A&E.

The trust, however, said the closure will not go ahead until Queen’s is fully equipped to take extra patients.