AMBULANCE crews and doctors and nurses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have been praised by an accident and emergency ward survey.

But improvements are needed, like most hospitals, in telling patients how long they will have to wait for an examination or sending them home with adequate support.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdogs examined A&E services at the East Lancashire trust as part of a national research project and rated various services out of 10.

Nearly 250 patients responded locally and they reserved particular praise for their journey to hospital by ambulance, how paramedics worked with casualty staff, with ratings of nine and above.

People attending A&E were also broadly happy with the answers given by medical workers about their condition.

And between eight and nine out of 10 were satisified that their levels of care and treatment and privacy were up to standard.

But the quality of information about how long people would have to wait in A&E only scored 3.6 out of 10, and advice about how patients could resume their normal lives, after treatment, and whether they had suitable arrangements at home to deal with their condition, was ranked at just 4.3 and 4.1 respectively.

This is in line with the findings at other acute hospital trusts, according to the CQC, which carried out the survey from January to March this year.

Nationwide it was found that patients are having to wait longer - East Lancs Hospitals Trust has skirted around the 95 per cent four-hour target for much of 2012.

David Behan, CQC’s chief executive, said: “The important issue is that people who need to be treated urgently, do not have to wait, it is disappointing therefore that people have said they have to wait longer to be treated than four years ago.

“People should be seen, diagnosed, treated and admitted or discharged as quickly as possible and this is an issue that trusts need to urgently tackle.

“It is however encouraging to see that people’s perceptions of trust in clinicians and cleanliness continuing to be high and more people than ever saying that they have enough privacy when discussing conditions with receptionists.”