Most pa­tients ‘to face waits of over FOUR HOURS at blackspot A&Es’

The Mail on Sunday - - News - By Stephen Adams HEALTH CORRESPONDENT

STRUG­GLING Ac­ci­dent & Emer­gency de­part­ments are set to be en­gulfed in a win­ter cri­sis ex­perts warned last night, forc­ing soar­ing num­bers of pa­tients to wait far be­yond the four-hour tar­get time.

The grim pre­dic­tion comes as a Mail on Sun­day in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals ‘blackspot’ NHS trusts where it is feared less than half of A&E pa­tients will be seen within four hours, if – as ex­pected – a flu out­break hits Bri­tain with a vengeance.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures re­veal that a dozen NHS hos­pi­tal trusts failed to treat even three­quar­ters of pa­tients in the tar­get time in Oc­to­ber, de­spite the weather be­ing mild.

Nu­mer­ous trusts recorded monthly A&E fig­ures below 67 per cent last win­ter, mean­ing that ev­ery third pa­tient had to wait four hours or more. But in the blackspot trusts, the pic­ture was worse.

At Lon­don North West Health­care NHS Trust, which runs ca­su­alty de­part­ments at Eal­ing Hos­pi­tal and North­wick Park Hos­pi­tal i n Har­row, only 50.7 per cent of A&E pa­tients were treated in un­der four hours in Jan­uary – the worst monthly fig­ure yet. There was a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion at Hilling­don Hos­pi­tal, West Lon­don, and cam­paign­ers be­lieve the clo­sure of two nearby A&Es in 2014 has in­creased pres­sures.

They say that A&E de­part­ments at Eal­ing and Char­ing Cross re­main un­der threat of be­ing ef­fec­tively down- graded, de­spite Gov­ern­ment as­sur­ances.

Taj Has­san, chair­man of the Royal Col­lege of Emer­gency Medicine, said a chronic lack of hos­pi­tal beds, ex­hausted staff and a flu out­break look set to trig­ger a win­ter of dis- con­tent. He fears that wait­ing times will rocket, with po­ten­tially fa­tal con­se­quences.

Dr Has­san said: ‘Last win­ter was in­cred­i­bly tough and all the in­di­ca­tors sug­gest this win­ter is go­ing to be no bet­ter, and will prob­a­bly be worse.’ NHS

‘More sick peo­ple die in crowded hos­pi­tals’

fig­ures show the coun­try is pep­pered with A& Es which strug­gled last win­ter – and con­tinue to do so – with no­table ex­am­ples in Mar­gate, Black­pool, Stoke, Truro, Portsmouth, Har­low, Coven­try, York, Pre­ston and Wat­ford. In Septem­ber, Labour MP Rosie Duffield said Mar­gate’s A& E had pa­tients wait­ing up to 13 hours.

Dr Has­san said: ‘It’s clearly recog­nised that a crowded emer­gency depart­ment is as­so­ci­ated with en­hanced harm to pa­tients. More pa­tients will die, and more will end up hav­ing a pro­longed hos­pi­tal stay.’

Last win­ter was both mild and rel­a­tively be­nign for flu, he said, yet hos­pi­tals still ended up in dire straights with packed A&Es and a des­per­ate short­age of beds. ‘We may or may not get away with a mild win­ter this year,’ he said.

Av­er­aged across all Eng­land’s 190 or so A&Es, 84.6 per cent of pa­tients were treated in four hours in Septem­ber, down on 86 per cent the pre­vi­ous Septem­ber.

In Oc­to­ber, the fig­ure was 84.9 per cent, a slight rise on the same month in 2016, when it stood at 83.7 per cent.

While the fig­ures are sim­i­lar for these two years, they rep­re­sent a marked de­te­ri­o­ra­tion since 2014.

NHS Eng­land said: ‘The lat­est fig­ures show A& E per­for­mance has im­proved on last year… The NHS is now treat­ing more than two mil­lion more pa­tients in un­der four hours than was the case ten years ago.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.