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Sandwell hospital boss: A&E waiting times are improving

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

Waiting times at a hospital trust which has been failing NHS targets for two years are gradually improving, according to new figures.

Sandwell Hospital

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust has consistently failed to meet the NHS target of having 95 per cent of A&E patients seen within four hours with bosses admitting they need to do better.

However, there are signs the situation could be improving as more patients were seen within the time limit last month at Sandwell and City Hospitals.

Health chiefs have set themselves an ‘interim’ target of reaching 90 per cent this summer before then aiming for the 95 per cent benchmark by January.

Although the trust has not yet reached 90 per cent, it was edging towards it last month, when 87.6 per cent were seen on time. The figure was a slight improvement on the 86 per cent in July.

Trust chief executive Toby Lewis said he was confident the trust was on track to meet its targets.

In a note to board members ahead of the latest meeting, he said: “Our emergency care wait times fall short of the 90 per cent interim standard we had agreed, and therefore of the 95 per cent standard e aim to be delivering from January.

“There are signs of progress in our sub-ndicators for first assessment. We have cut the number of people waiting a little over four hours (but less than five) and if we can continue that improvement we will hit our 90 per cent standard.

“We continue to focus on quality as well as ‘quantity’, seeing patients in clinically indicated sequence.”

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The Sandwell trust has struggled badly in attempting to hit the NHS waiting time target set by the Government. ens of thousands of patients have waited more than four hours at Sandwell General over the last two years as the hospital has battled to cope with the pressure.

However, Mr Lewis has refused to criticise the NHS target and has insisted the trust must do more to make sure it meets it.

Health bosses are desperate to ensure they are in line with the standard by next winter ahead of the move to the new £350 million Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick in spring 2019.

The Midland Met, which is currently under construction in Grove Lane, is set to revolutionise healthcare in Sandwell and Birmingham, but senior officials do not want to make the move with waiting times languishing at the current levels.

Mr Lewis issued an apology in July after the Express & Star revealed that more than 18,000 hospital patients were left waiting in A&E for more than four hours ind the first hafmonths of 2017.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
@RichG_star

Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton

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