Four-hour target missed at A&E

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The NHS trust which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals missed its accident and emergency (A&E) target last year.

The Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust failed to see 95 per cent of all patients visiting A&E units within four hours between April 2017 and March 2018.

The government introduced a guideline instructing hospitals to see 98 per cent of patients within four hours in 2004. This threshold was later lowered to 95 per cent in 2010.

But with the number of people attending A&E departments spiralling and health budgets cut, hospital trusts across the UK have been struggling to meet the target for several years.

The trust is now urging people with long-standing problems or minor illnesses to avoid A&E and says that people with severe conditions and fractures will always be seen first.

Erika McGinnes, head of unplanned care improvement at the trust said: “Like all hospitals across the country our A&E departments have been busier than usual over the last year.

“Patients are seen in order of clinical priority, which means that people with less urgent needs may wait longer to be seen and some people who need admission may have to wait longer than usual in the A&E departments for a bed to become vacant.

“Demand levels are monitored around the clock by clinical and management teams and well planned arrangements are put in place to manage peaks in demand. These include, deploying clinicians to focus on managing urgent cases and timely discharge, opening up extra beds and clinical managers covering shifts on the wards to provide extra staff.”

“People need to remember that A&E is for real accidents and emergencies – chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures – and those with severe conditions will always take priority.”

However, the trust improved its record in treating outpatients within 18 weeks, as dictated by national guidelines

More than 85 per cent of patients saw a clinician within this timeframe in 2017/18, up five per cent from the year before.