Action being taken to improve A&E waiting times

C_67_article_2135912_short_teaser_group_teaserimageauthored By Charlie Bennett  July 04, 2013 and re-blogged with thanks from Get Surrey

Accident and emergency waits in Ashford and St Peter’s hospitals are longer than in other hospitals in the South East, figures reveal.

The two hospitals, managed by the Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust, have consistently missed the targets set out by the NHS constitution – that 95% of A&E patients must be dealt with inside four hours.

For more than 25% of the last fiscal year, the trust failed to hit this target, with weekly figures as lAdd Newate as the week ending June 2 showing only 93.96% of patients were seen within four hours.

However, a statement from the deputy chief executive, Valerie Bartlett, confirmed the trust was ‘working extremely hard’ to improve the results and in June exceeded the target, with 98.7% of patients being seen within four hours during the week ending June 30.

She said: “We have also met the four-hour waiting target (achieving 95.3%) for the first quarter of this financial year, as set by our regulator, Monitor, which takes into account the waiting times for all patients who arrive without an appointment at our hospitals and not simply those who come via A&E.”

She said extra A&E and paediatric A&E posts had been created and staffing levels on assessment units had been increased, with a dedicated unit for the elderly due to be set up in the winter.

The North West Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), a GP-led group that organises NHS services in the area, discussed the issue during a meeting at the Runnymede Civic Centre on June 24.

Julia Ross, the CCG’s chief officer, said: “We are working closely with our colleagues at St Peter’s Hospital to understand how a number of factors are contributing to this, such as an increasing number of frail, elderly patients with serious conditions needing more complex care and longer stays, reducing the availability of beds for incoming patients.

“Along with the ambulance service, social care and other colleagues in the community, we are looking at other factors, such as discharge processes and whether the current workforce is sufficient to meet the community’s urgent care needs.”

Meanwhile, an error led to more than 200 hospital patients being placed on the wrong waiting list last month.

Pain management patients must be seen within 18 weeks but due to an error, 254 of these patients were waiting longer for their treatment, with the longest wait reaching 44 weeks.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We realised that some of our patients requiring pain management care were being placed on the incorrect waiting list, which led to a delay in receiving an appointment and a backlog of patients.

“We would like to apologise to any patient that has experienced a delay because of this and would like to assure them that we have now rectified this situation.”

He said all patients had been contacted and that the backlog was due to be cleared by the end of June.

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About Roger Nield MBE

Safety Director for the SMPL Organisation and supporting our Vulnerable Veterans Programme.
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