More than 3,000 patients wait over four hours in Sandwell A&E
More than 3,000 patients waited over four hours in A&E at Sandwell and City hospitals last month, health bosses have revealed.
Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust’s A&E performance was just 82.52 per cent in January, with 3,249 breaches of the four-hour target time.
That means nearly one in four patients were kept waiting more than four hours – with chiefs admitting ‘February continues to under-perform’.
The national NHS target is for 95 per cent of emergency department patients to be seen within four hours.
Councillor Bob Lloyd, who sits on Sandwell Council’s health scrutiny board, said the trust’s A&E struggles mirrored a national problem.
He told the Express & Star: “It isn’t just Sandwell or the trust here having problems – it is winter pressures and a national issue everywhere. We know there are problems in winter every year but this comes down to under-investment nationally.
“Everything else is a knock-on from that. We need more investment.
“There is always an idea to get people to go to Minor Injuries Units or other places but it doesn’t seem to be working. People know where A&E is and they know they will get a good service there.
“But that leads to the pressures from A&E feeding onto everywhere else.”
A report to Sandwell’s trust board says: “Emergency department four-hour performance for January was 82.52 per cent – compared to the required standard of 90 per cent, with 3,249 breaches. February continues to under-perform.”
That was a slight improvement on December, when 78.65 per cent of patients at A&E were seen within four hours.
Other local trusts have also struggled to get enough patients seen within four hours.
Rachel Barlow, chief operating officer, said: “We apologise to patients who have experienced delays when attending our emergency departments.
“Our Trust is committed to improving waiting times whilst ensuring that the safety of our patients remains our priority.
“We continue to work closely with our partners to get the right care arrangements in place to discharge patients at the right time.”
At the University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, which runs County Hospital in Stafford, just 68 per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour target last month. At the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust 73.8 per cent of patients were seen within the target time.