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Primary survey
  1. Steve Goodacre, Editor
  1. BMJ, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Steve Goodacre, BMJ, 23 Nairn Street, Sheffield S10 1UL, UK; s.goodacre{at}

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Keeping the customer satisfied

The main, and slightly uncomfortable, conclusion from the study of patient satisfaction undertaken by Walsh and Knott seems to be that the longer patients are in our emergency department the less satisfied they are. Perhaps that is inevitable. Suffering a medical emergency is no sensible person's idea of a good time, so our role is to ensure that it is as quick and painless as possible. In this respect the study offers some helpful pointers. Noise levels, trolley comfort and food quality were rated as being important by patients but associated with lower levels of satisfaction. Maybe it's a sign of age (or a cheap stethoscope) that I feel very sympathetic about the noise issue (see page 821).

Are emergency nurse practitioners quicker than doctors?

If shorter length of stay improves satisfaction then the study by Considine, Kropman and Stergiou suggests than patients managed by emergency nurse practitioners are likely to be more satisfied that those managed by doctors. Median emergency department length of stay for non-admitted patients was 1.7 h for those seen by emergency …

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