Wolverhampton New Cross A&E under siege as numbers soar
New Cross Hospital's under-pressure A&E unit has experienced its busiest ever month due to extra ambulances being diverted from Stafford.
A total of 10,594 people passed through the doors in July.
As a result, waiting times are up but bosses said they were managing to cope with the incredible demand. The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust just managed to avoid a fine for not seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours - scraping by with 95.1 per cent.
Records have been smashed at A&E for the past 18 months as demand goes through the roof. The previous busiest month was last July, when 10,018 people attended. But this year has seen a five per cent increase as patients besiege the jam-packed unit.
Gwen Nuttall, chief operating officer, confirmed that extra patients who would normally go to Stafford had contributed to the unit's busiest ever month.
She said: "Although there is a general upward trend, part of this increase is the result of additional ambulances directed to New Cross Hospital A&E from the Staffordshire area.
"Staff have coped very well despite a number of exceptionally busy days which have been challenging.
Of waiting times she added: "Unfortunately there was an increase in the number of patients who waited over four hours in the emergency department in July."
From July 14 to 20 the department saw just 88 per cent of patients treated within four hours. For two other weeks, it missed the 95 per cent target by one per cent, but the monthly average scraped above 95 per cent thanks to figures being combined with those from the trust's two walk-in centres.
Ambulances began being diverted to New Cross from Stafford on July 14.
Last week, it was revealed that extra staff are being hired at New Cross to better cope with the soaring demand.
West Midlands Ambulance Service was asked to make alternative arrangements for 15 patients a day due to Stafford having fewer beds and a shortage of staff – on top of the 15 already diverted when its accident and emergency department closed at night.
A new £30m New Cross A&E - three times the size of the current one - will open late next year. It will house primary care services and a walk-in centre.
Boss have stressed that emergency services at the hospital will not be affected by construction of the new three-storey building, which will link directly with the hospital's Heart and Lung Centre.
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