PATIENTS' experiences at University Hospitals Dorset improved last year thanks to feedback from the public despite the pandemic, according to new survey data.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine praised emergency departments across England for their work, as patient satisfaction rose nationally amid the pressures and challenges of Covid-19.

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.

It used the former NHS trusts of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals (RBCH) and Poole Hospital.

The 476 patients surveyed at RBCH gave the hospital an average overall experience score of 8.5 out of 10.

The 420 patients surveyed at Poole gave the hospital an average overall experience score of 8.4 out of 10.

Professor Paula Shobbrook, chief nursing officer atUniversity Hospitals Dorset, which manages all three hospitals, said: “Emergency services provided at Poole Hospital are well regarded, performing significantly better than the national average in two areas, according to this report.

In every other area, Poole Hospital’s emergency care was rated as ‘about the same’ as other trusts, with no area evaluated as performing worse than other trusts.

“Our urgent and emergency care teams across both sites work hard to ensure patients receive great all-round care, and we will look at the findings in detail to identify specific areas that may be improved.”

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.

Across England, 81 per cent of respondents said they were treated with respect and dignity in A&E all of the time – up from 79% in 2018.

RBCH received an average score of 9.4 out of 10 on this matter– up from 9 two years previously.

Patients gave RBCH a mark of 9.3 for its cleanliness, which was above the national average of 9, with Poole Hospital receiving a score of 9.1.

James Devine, director of the acute network of The NHS Confederation, said: “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 other 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.”