A&E should provide Wi-Fi and phone chargers, report says

People waiting in A&E departments should be given Wi-Fi access, emergency care doctors say.

People waiting in A&E departments should be given Wi-Fi access, the body representing emergency care doctors says in a new checklist of quality standards.

Emergency departments are encouraged to exceed fundamental standards
to ensure quality patient care. Picture: iStock

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said waiting rooms should also have reading materials and a television. It also asks emergency departments (EDs) to consider having a bank of phone chargers for use by patients and relatives.

The checklist of 50 quality standards set by the college encourages emergency department staff to go 'over and above' fundamental standards to ensure quality patient care.

It also encourages departments to provide patients and their families with information regarding the process and updates of waiting times.

Forced to compromise

The checklist covers all aspects of emergency care, from patient experience to the treatment of elderly patients and children, and care of those with complex needs, along with education about care, team working and leadership.

RCEM president Dr Taj Hassan said: 'In the hectic, often overcrowded environment of the ED, sometimes staff feel they are forced to compromise on the quality of service being provided in their desire to safely tackle the sheer quantity of patients requiring treatment in order to hit their targets.

'While meeting targets is important, it is vital that our primary focus should be on ensuring patients receive the highest possible quality of care.

Safe, compassionate

'Our guide provides a 50-point checklist for ED staff to ensure that delivering safe, compassionate care is central to what they do and placed above all other aims.'

Referring to the 2013 Francis report on failures of care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Hassan said it highlighted the neglect of acceptable standards of care, 'with quality often being sacrificed on the altar of targets'.

He said: 'We hope that this checklist, if used correctly, will enhance the provision of quality care, and in doing so will help lead to targets being hit.

'We have also suggested some initiatives and ideas for departments to develop for patients that we hope will add just that little bit extra to patient experience.'

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