Sandwell hospital trust given deadline on A&E targets
A hospital trust has been given seven months to meet national A&E waiting time targets.
Bosses at the trust which runs Sandwell Hospital will aim to have 95 per cent of patients seen within four hours by next March.
It represents a huge challenge for the Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which has not met the national standard at any point in the last two years.
Current waiting times have been labelled 'unacceptable' by trust chief executive Toby Lewis.
The trust will be coming off the back of what is likely to be another challenging winter by March. Meanwhile, the fallout over the continued delays with the new Midland Metropolitan Hospital continues to rumble on.
It comes after more than 50 hospital workers met with bosses over an urgent plan to improve waiting times.
Chiefs at Sandwell Hospital are desperate to find a solution to its problems which have seen thousands of patients waiting more than four hours in A&E this year.
A total of 81.2 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in June, meaning almost one in five waited longer than planned.
The trust failed to meet the NHS Improvement target for the month, which was set at 86.4 per cent.
A&E workers attended a 'Listening into Action' event to hear details of a plan which will aim to turn around the fortunes of the struggling department.
A crucial aspect of the 'rapid improvement plan' is trying to ensure patents sent to hospital by GPs, who do not require urgent treatment, are seen away from A&E.
New staff rotas will also be introduced in an attempt to plug gaps and prevent workers being overwhelmed by the number of patients.
A Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust board report said: "The trust is working hard to tackle wait times in the EDs (emergency departments).
"The volume of over four and over eight hour patient waits has grown sharply over the last six months, and the deterioration in quarter one has been behind improvement trajectory for eight weeks.
"The trust has proactively sought clinical expert advice from outside the trust, and held a well-attended Listening into Action event with over fifty A&E staff from across disciplines and grades."