Under-pressure A&E set for busiest month

The under-pressure A&E unit at a West Midlands hospital is in line for its busiest ever month, bosses have said.

An average of 326 people a day are visiting the unit at Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital.

Bosses say they cannot put the sudden increase – which follows on from March being the hospital’s second busiest ever – down to one single factor. It comes after a new £30 million emergency centre on the Wednesfield site was approved by trust bosses.

So far in April 4,563 patients have visited A&E. That equates to 326 a day, which is in line to beat the record set last July when an average of 323 patients a day visited A&E, totalling 10,018.

On March 31 a record was nearly set for the hospital’s busiest ever day when 379 patients were seen in A&E – just five short of the all-time high set in July 2012.

Chiefs at the hospital have paid tribute to nursing staff and doctors who, despite last month’s incredibly busy period, still saw 96.3 per cent of patients within four hours. The national target is 95 per cent.

Tim Powell, deputy chief operating officer at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “We had really good performance from staff in terms of the four-hour standard.

“Overall in March, including data from our walk-in centre, we saw 97.25 per cent of patients within four hours.

There were only three days in total which dipped below 300 attendances. There’s no one single factor as to why it’s so busy, it’s down to a variety of reasons.”

The new A&E will be ready by November 2015. It will be three times as big as the current one and will form part of a £30m emergency centre, which will also encompass a walk-in centre and primary care services.

The existing A&E has previously been labelled as ‘unfit for purpose’ by New Cross chief executive David Loughton.