A&E fails waiting time targets amid winter influx

TARGETS: The University Hospital of North Tees
TARGETS: The University Hospital of North Tees

SERVICES for patients in Hartlepool and East Durham are failing to meet Government targets as A&E waiting times have risen above the four-hour limit.

During the Christmas week, which ended on December 28, 1,351 patients turned up at University Hospital of North Tees’ A&E department for treatment.

A total of 257 patients arrived at the minor injuries unit at One Life Hartlepool

However, only 91.6 per cent of those were transferred, admitted or discharged within four hours – which is below the Government’s requirement of 95 per cent.

Today health bosses have said the figures do not give “a clear reflection” of the pressures facing staff.

Chief operating officer and deputy chief executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust Julie Gillon said: “We have been very close to the target of 95 per cent of patients being seen, treated, admitted or discharged within four hours of arriving at the accident and emergency at the University Hospital of North Tees and the minor injuries department at One Life Hartlepool.

“Taking the accident and emergency unit at the University Hospital of North Tees alone, we achieved just under 94 per cent of patients being seen, treated, admitted or discharged within four hours of arriving in the accident and emergency department.

“The figures themselves do not give a clear reflection of the pressures in accident and emergency. We have seen the proportion of patients admitted into the hospital from accident and emergency rise significantly.

“We are seeing many more people with complex medical problems who need additional care and therefore a decision is made to keep these patients in the department longer for clinical reasons.

“Because of the pressure we are seeing in the first full week of the this year and the pressures right across the health service we would like to remind people that they should only come to accident and emergency if it’s absolutely necessary.

“We very much appreciate people’s co-operation at this busy time. Our A&E staff need to concentrate on very sick and injured people whose health needs are our priority at this time.”