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Patients don’t feel safe in A&E, research finds

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Visiting A&E or relatives is considered much riskier than attending hospital for other reasons, according to the first in-depth piece of research into the subject. 

The research, authored by the University of Leicester and NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre Bioinformatics Hub, asked 400 participants how they felt about attending hospital across a range of scenarios during the pandemic. It also revealed that consistent staff use of PPE is seen as a top priority by patients, with staff testing receiving significant but much less support. 

Participants in the Leicester research were asked to rank how ”safe and confident” they felt coming into hospital for a number of reasons on a scale 1-100. The median score given to “visiting a friend or family member” was 49. The score for attending accident and emergency was 50.

Attendance at A&E’s fell sharply during the pandemic peak. It is now rising, but has not reached pre-covid levels. The research suggests that fear could still be playing a significant part in the drop off.

Attending hospital for elective care received a median score of 61. Participants were most confident in visiting hospital for essential surgery (median score 78), and clinical scans or x-ray (77).

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Source: HSJ, 3 September 2020

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