An evaluation of the factors contributing to why patients attend the Emergency Department at Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

A service evaluation was carried out at Barnsley Hospital using patient questionnaires, patient qualitative interviews and staff focus groups to investigate the processes involved in people using the hospital’s emergency department in order to inform the future direction of services. 

Over 900 patients attending A&E completed a questionnaire; the majority of people said they attended to gain reassurance about their condition and the visit was influenced by a lack of knowledge about where else to go and problems accessing GP appointments. A&E was viewed as being a more accessible and speedier alternative to a GP appointment. 

Staff identified referrals from primary care professionals and perceptions that hospital staff were better qualified to assess patients as reasons for attendance.