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ALL hospitals in Black Country and Staffordshire are failing waiting times

By Alex Ross | Health | Published:

Hospitals in the Black Country and Staffordshire are all failing A&E waiting time targets, according to new NHS figures.

Targets for A&E waiting times are being missed across the region

University of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs County Hospital in Stafford, saw just over four in five people seen within four hours, making it the 14th worst hospital trust in the country.

The NHS target is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen within the four hours.

At Walsall Manor Hospital, 82.3 per cent of patients were seen within the target time, 86 per cent at Sandwell and Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General Hospital and City Hospital in Birmingham and 89.1 per cent at Russells Hall Hospital.

At University of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs County Hospital and Royal Stoke University Hospital, 80.9 per cent of patients were seen within the set time.

Only at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, which runs New Cross Hospital, were waiting times close to the national target. At the hospital, 93.8 per cent of patients were dealt with within four hours.

Gwen Nuttall, chief operating officer at the trust, said: “While we haven’t hit the national target we were very close in what was a very busy month, which included the busiest day the department has ever seen.

“It is testament to the commitment and team work of our staff that we managed to see the vast majority of patients within the required time and we will continue to do all we can for our patients on a daily basis.”

Richard Beeken, chief operating officer at University of North Midlands NHS Trust, said: “Last winter was exceptionally challenging for the whole NHS, particularly for large busy hospital trust such as ours, which makes meeting the four-hour national A&E target a real challenge.

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“We have remained extremely busy over the summer months.

“However, together with our partners we have taken a number of steps to increase discharges, which helps reduce delays for patients waiting to be admitted.”

He added: “Internally we are taking a number of steps to prepare for winter 2017/18, which will help us keep chipping away at waiting times.

“This includes making more beds available and having allocated staff who are four-hour progress chasers that are there to help identify and remove any barriers to our patients being seen within the four hour time frame.“

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Philip Thomas-Hands, chief operating officer at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said: “We urge people to avoid the emergency department unless they have life-threatening or serious conditions so our teams can prioritise those most in need as quickly as possible."

Rachel Barlow, chief operating officer at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I apologise to patients who spend longer with us than we would want, as we continue to prioritise patients based wholly on clinical need.

“We are working hard to reduce waiting times, both for patients in our emergency departments and for patients who are waiting for care arrangements to be put in place before being discharged home.

"This is beginning to show improvements in the percentage of patients we are able to see within four hours as demonstrated by our performance in June and July."

Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Diane Wake said: "We always do our best to make sure patients attending our emergency department are seen as quickly as possible and continue to see, treat, admit or discharge the vast majority of patients within four hours.

"The number of attendances at our emergency department continues to rise, with many of these patients having more serious conditions, known as majors, which require more advanced assessment and treatment. In July 2017, we saw a 7 per cent increase in the number of major attendances and a 12 per cent increase in ambulance arrivals compared to July 2016.

"Patients are always prioritised in order of clinical need to make sure that these acutely unwell patients receive the urgent medical attention they require as soon as possible. This does mean that, during busy periods, patients with less urgent conditions may wait longer to be seen."

The figures released this week were for July.

Nationally, 90.3 per cent of patients spent four hours or less in A&E.

The last time the target of 95 per cent across the county was achieved was in July 2015.

A spokesman for NHS England said: “Reducing delays for patients awaiting discharge from hospital remains a key priority ahead of winter, and it is positive that NHS-related delays are lower this year than last.”

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
@alexross_star

Chief Reporter at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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