Walsall Manor Hospital moves up A&E wait rankings despite performance woes
A hospital has risen up the rankings for A&E waiting times - despite its performance getting slightly worse.
Walsall Manor Hospital rose from 108th nationally last April to 58th in December for length of waits. It also jumped from 15th place out of 21 in the West Midlands region to fourth.
But analysis revealed its waiting times performance had actually dipped over the previous 12 months, indicating the struggles of other hospitals played a part in it rising up the rankings amid the national NHS crisis.
Walsall Manor was under huge pressure in December when 7,440 people piled into A&E, the highest number in a single month since the formation of the Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, and seven per cent up on 12 months earlier.
In December, the most recent figures available, 79.8 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, slightly below the average for 2019/20 which is 81.7 per cent.
But in December 2018 the figure was 84.2 per cent. The current total is also slightly worse than April, when it was 80.2 per cent.
Despite this Walsall Manor is currently one of the top performing hospitals in the region in terms of A&E performance. The national target is 95 per cent, but hardly any trusts are meeting it.
It does mean, however, the trust has been able to avoid a big increase in waiting times experienced by others in the region. New Cross in Wolverhampton plunged from 87.8 per cent in December 2018 to 70.8 per cent in December 2019, for example.
Sandwell Hospital has also struggled badly with A&E performance over recent months.
Walsall trust chief executive Richard Beeken paid tribute to the efforts of staff in helping to get patients seen as quickly as possible and helping ensure the hospital did not suffer as much as others.
He said: "I have been delighted that Walsall Healthcare has continued to climb both the national and regional performance league tables for delivery of the four-hour emergency access standard.
"Our regional ranking, relative to others has been to move from 15th to fourth in a period of only nine months. To have achieved the maintenance of safe urgent care delivery in the face of significant increases in demand, way beyond that planned for or nationally predicted, is testament to our clinical and managerial teams."
It comes with A&E performance nationally currently at their worst ever levels. Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested in January that the 95 per cent four hour target could be scrapped.