AN accident and emergency department has been highly praised for its performance while dealing with the strains of the coronavirus pandemic.

The A&E Department at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital, run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, has been given an average experience score of 8.2 out of 10 in the urgent and emergency care Survey, an improvement on the score of 7.3 the department received in 2018.

Respondents also gave the department an average score of 8.9 for cleanliness, and an average of 9.3 out of 10 for treatment with respect and dignity. The results were collected from 217 patients surveyed in September 2020 by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The 2020 urgent and emergency care survey received feedback from 41,000 patients across England who attended a type one service – A&E departments, sometimes referred to as casualty or emergency departments – in September last year. A total of 217 people were surveyed in relation to the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Dr Jawad Husain, Medical Director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received such high scores in this survey, as it’s testament to the hard work and dedication of our fantastic staff that we have achieved this, in such challenging circumstances.

“The pandemic has inevitably put pressure on our services, and our colleagues have been unwavering in their commitment to provide high-quality care. I want to thank them all and let them know that they are appreciated.”

A third of patients nationally gave their overall experience a perfect score – up from 27 per cent in 2016 and 29 per cent in 2018.

NHS Providers said the survey highlighted patients' concerns about pain management, emotional support and staff availability.

But given the "extreme and unprecedented pressures" they faced, the membership organisation for trusts in England said the survey results are positive.

Saffron Cordery, deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, added: "This is testament to the dedication and professionalism of frontline staff who strive to deliver care in the most challenging of circumstances.

"We are also pleased to hear that the biggest positive change in this year's survey findings was in people's perceptions of cleanliness within A&E departments."

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine said emergency departments are performing an "incredible job in difficult circumstances", but noted there are areas for improvement.

Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the RCEM, added: "Many of the areas that are a source of frustration for patients are largely a result of staff shortages.

“It is important that patients have the opportunity to talk through their treatment or condition, that all patients receive the help they need when they need it whether before, after or during their care, and that their pain or condition is managed throughout their time in A&E."

The NHS Confederation, a membership organisation for the healthcare system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said A&E services are even busier now a year on from the survey.

James Devine, director of the acute network at the organisation, said: “Staff are more exhausted after everything they have been through in the pandemic, while being worried about what lies ahead this winter.

“Time will tell whether the Government’s Covid winter plan will be enough to keep transmission down but there are a range of things we can all do to keep each another safe and protect the NHS.

"This includes by getting vaccinated if eligible, wearing masks where appropriate, testing and self-isolating if required and following the other vital infection control measures.”