Almost a quarter of recent users of emergency departments and a similar proportion of the general public has said increased staffing would be the best way of improving emergency care in their area.
The finding is included in the first phase of data compiled for the nationwide Study of the Impact of Reconfiguration on Emergency and Urgent Care Networks (SIREN) project.
As part of the project, opinion polling began last March and 8,000 telephone interviews were conducted.
One question asked of respondents - including recent users of emergency care services - was: “If you could name one thing that would improve the quality of urgent and emergency care services in your region what would it be?”
In response, 24% of recent users of the services and 23% of other respondents said increased staffing across all services.
The second most popular response was ‘Reduced waiting times for services’, favoured by 24% of general respondents and 17% of recent users of the services.
The third most popular response was ‘Upgraded service infrastructure and resources’ with 19% of all respondents stating that should be a priority, while 16% of all respondents ranked improved access to services as important.
Other responses, such as improved finance services, enhanced service communication and information sharing, and more appropriate use of services, were provided by a smaller percentage of those questioned.
The principal investigator on the SIREN project, Prof John Browne of UCC’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health said a survey of patients who had used urgent and emergency services last winter found 69% said they believed the service they had received was excellent or very good.
The survey conducted for SIREN also sought satisfaction levels in the different regions across a number of criteria.
Patient satisfaction with their experience of entry into the system was highest in the Midlands, but there were few variations across the regions.
Patient satisfaction with their experience of progress through the system was highest in the south, but again the results were similar for all areas.
There was a little more variation when it came to levels of satisfaction with patient experience of convenience, with those in the south and in the midlands again most satisfied.
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