Working with Doncaster Clinical Commissioning group to explore reasons why people attend A&E

The Beginning

Co:Create were asked to support Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the review of the new queuing system for triage at A&E. The CCG wanted to involve patients by asking what their experiences of the new system had been so far, and identify any improvements that could be made. Whilst doing this, we also wanted to give patients the opportunity to tell us the reasons why they had chosen to attend A&E. Our aims was to listen to their stories, and to explore and compare what their knowledge and experiences of other services had been.

The Story

We worked alongside the CCG to map out the patient's journey and identified touch points. Co:Create then used this information to design a tool to tailor our conversations with patients at A&E. We worked with the Emergency Department to look at the highest attendance times, so that we could arrange our visits around this and engage with as many patients as possible. In total, we spoke to 154 patients over five different times and days. We used the tool to engage the patient in an open conversation - this enabled them to share their views more freely, and to think about their experience as a whole. The feedback highlighted common themes within the patients' journeys, and challenged previous thoughts around issues with the new queuing system at triage. The information we gathered was shared with both the commissioners at the CCG and staff from A&E. Having an insight into patients' experiences created a further interest for the professionals involved into reasons why A&E attendance was so high, and the utilisation of other services was not.

It has given us another way of reaching out to understand patients’ views on services.
— Deputy Chief of Strategy & Delivery Doncaster CCG

The Next Chapter

This work has been reviewed and shared both internally within Co:Create and at Doncaster CCG. It was agreed from both sides that Co:Create’s involvement was still needed, in order to gain a deeper understanding of individuals' behaviours when choosing to attend A&E instead of other, possibly more appropriate, services. We are now working closely with the CCG to identify a target group for the next stage of this work. We will design further engagement work with the community to enable us to understand their behaviour, and work with groups to prototype possible solutions which will influence the CCG’s winter A&E campaign.

Emma Ward