19th Sep, 2017

Royal continues to miss 4-hour targets for waiting times

Ross Crawford 13th Sep, 2017

HOSPITAL chiefs are struggling to meet national treatment targets, with A&E waiting times at Worcestershire Royal a particular concern.

Across the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, medics once again failed to hit the four-hour waiting time standard in Accident & Emergency, while the 18-week referral to treatment time window was also missed.

However, there was success in seeing and treating cancer patients while the two-week breast cancer referral time was only missed due to patient choice related to work commitments.

In a report to the board of the trust, Haq Khan, acting director of performance, says treatment times in A&E have ‘plateaued’ after showing improvement between December 2016 and March 2017.

There was a marked difference in performance between the Worcester-based Royal, which is now seeing more seriously ill patients and children, and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

The Royal treated 64 per cent of patients within the four-hour Government target of 90 per cent while the Alex recorded a level of 86 per cent.

However, patients at the Royal were being quickly assessed on arrival with staff ‘triaging’ 84 per cent of patients within 15 minutes.

The latest figures for July also show an increase in the number of A&E patients waiting in the corridor at the Royal, rising from 199 to 212. However, the length of time a patient spends there has decreased, from 287 minutes to 234 minutes.

Mr Khan said the Royal in particular had been hit by an increase in workload, staffing shortages, and the inability to move patients out of A&E and into a hospital bed due to it operating at close to capacity.

Across the trust both the Alex and the Royal were receiving on average nearly 130 ambulances a day – ‘a consistently high level’ – and there had been delays in transfer patients due to the sheer volume of numbers arriving at the hospital.

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