New Cross misses A&E target again as one-in-four patients wait longer than four hours
One-in-four patients have been kept waiting more than four hours in A&E at New Cross Hospital as its waiting times performance continues to slide.
Just 73.8 per cent of patients were seen within the national NHS target of four hours during January as the hospital struggled to cope with the winter pressure.
New Cross had been bucking the trend on waiting times compared to its Black Country neighbours last year but its performance has gradually declined as the number of patients rose during winter.
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Performance was as high as 93.8 per cent last August but dipped to 80 per cent in November, 78 per cent in December and 73.8 per cent last month.
The increased pressure has also led to ambulances piling up outside the hospital.
The Royal Wolverhampton Trust, which runs New Cross, was fined £45,400 after more than 120 patients were waiting in ambulances for at least half an hour in December. Another 21 were kept waiting for more than an hour.
Gwen Nuttall, chief operating officer at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “It has been a very busy start to the year and our staff have worked incredibly hard to ensure patients are safe.
“Meeting national targets will always be a challenge but we are doing all that we can to ensure our patients are not waiting longer than necessary to receive the care that they need.
"I would like to advise our patients to make the local pharmacy their first stop for help with minor illness. There is a walk-in centre based at the Phoenix Health Centre, Minor Injury Unit (MIU) at Cannock Chase Hospital and Urgent Care Centre at New Cross Hospital.”
“All three offer on the spot treatment and advice for minor injuries, minor illnesses and ailments.”
“In addition many GP practices are offering extended opening times. If you are unsure please check with your GP surgery.
“NHS 111 can also provide medical help and advice when it is not a 999 emergency.”
Hospitals across the Midlands have struggled to get enough patients seen within four hours.
The Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell General and City Hospital, hasn’t got anywhere near the 95 per cent target for the last two years.
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.