Mixed fortunes on waiting times at Russells Hall Hospital
Waiting times for A&E treatment and operations vary hugely at a Black Country hospital, latest figures show.
Russells Hall in Dudley is ranked among the best in the country for elective treatment but continues to struggle to provide emergency care on time.
The wildly contrasting performance shows how health chiefs have struggled to cope with pressure being placed on its A&E department.
The hospital, which is run by the Dudley Group NHS Trust, is one of only a handful in the country meeting target times for elective surgery. An impressive 94.8 per cent of patients are treated within 18 weeks of referral by a GP, above the national target of 92 per cent.
However, its A&E performance is lagging behind that of many other trusts. Just 69 per cent of patients were seen within four hours during May, the most recent A&E figures available.
The figure becomes 80 per cent when combined with urgent care centre performance, where almost all patients are seen on time.
The national target is to have 95 per cent seen within four hours of arriving at A&E.
The trust said the combined figure for July was 88 per cent.
Dudley Group chief executive Diane Wake said: "We are particularly proud of our referral to treatment times that see Dudley patients have some of the shortest waits in the country for planned procedures.
"We are routinely in the top 10 trusts nationally for the 18 weeks from referral to treatment standards.
"Our emergency department (ED) teams continue to work hard to provide the safest possible care to patients at a time of unprecedented demand.
"The emergency access standard is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen, treated, admitted or discharged within four hours.
"In line with NHS England rules we are measured for ED and the urgent care centre combined, as they are co-located on site, and our performance figure continues to improve.
"For July it stood at 88 per cent, thanks to improved processes and our focus on recruitment.
"We are not alone in finding the 95 per cent target a challenge, and nationally this figure has not been met for four years.
"Patients are always prioritised in order of clinical need to make sure that acutely unwell patients receive the urgent medical attention they require as soon as possible."