Express & Star

Record number of ambulance attendances at Wolverhampton's New Cross Hopsital

New Cross Hospital's A&E department is 'busier than ever' with a new record set for the number of ambulance attendances on a single day.


Patient numbers were up 7.5 per cent in November and the hospital missed a national target of seeing 95 per cent of A&E attendances within four hours during every week of the month.

The under-pressure unit has been overwhelmed with the amount of patients coming through its doors for months - but the numbers show no sign of slowing down.

Bosses hope that a new ward opening in January will ease pressure on staff.

And then in February space and staff will be freed up by all non-emergency surgery being moved to Cannock Chase Hospital.

But the A&E situation is likely to remain critical until a new £30m Emergency Department opens late next year.

Patients are still being treated in corridors and an influx of attendances from Staffordshire following the dissolution of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has increased numbers further still.

New Cross will face another fine for its A&E performance in November, after being fined £54,000 in October.

Chief operating officer Gwen Nuttall said: "It's busier than ever.

"We're seeing additional pressures as a result of changes at County Hospital (formerly Stafford Hospital) and an increase in attendances from Cannock and around Staffordshire.

"We've very busy but we hope things will ease in the new year."

Last week 152 ambulances delivered patients to the hospital in a single day - a record for New Cross.

Ms Nuttall added: "We managed the extra Staffordshire attendances until the beginning of October but now we've got winter pressures, creating a cumulative effect.

The chief operating officer reiterated that people should only attend A&E in an emergency and should consider all other available options first, including seeing their GP, going to a pharmacy or attending a walk-in centre.

In the last week of November just 88.9 per cent of A&E patients were seen within four hours - way below the 95 pent target hospital trusts must reach.

The hospital is also currently dealing with a norovirus outbreak, with nine patients diagnosed with the winter voming bug earlier this week, forcing bays to close.

The new A&E will be three times the size of the current one.

It will also include a walk-in centre and other primary care services.

Patients will be guided to the correct department upon arrival, with the centre based by the hospital's Heart and Lung Centre.

Chief executive David Loughton recently said patients would have to grin and bear the misery of the current A&E for another year.

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