'˜Yorkshire A&E crisis exposed' as hospitals fail to meet targets

Stretched A&E departments at some Yorkshire hospitals are failing to see more than one in seven patients within four hours amid warnings of a 'crisis' in emergency staffing.

Friday, 12th August 2016, 12:59 pm
Updated Friday, 12th August 2016, 2:04 pm

The target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours has not been hit by an A&E at any major hospital in England since July 2013.

New statistics for June reveal that hospital across Yorkshire are failing to meet targets.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (Mid Yorks) was the worst performing in the county, falling almost 10 per cent below the NHS standard.

Elsewhere in Yorkshire trusts in Hull (85.9 per cent), Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (86.3), Leeds (87.2) and York (87.2) also struggled to meet demand.

Nationally nearly 15 per cent of people in larger A&E departments and almost 10 per cent in all hospitals were not discharged within the target time.

It comes after the Royal College of Emergency Medicine warned that a gap between supply and the rising demand for emergency doctors is leading to a “real crisis”.

NHS England defended the figures, saying they showed “another improvement in performance” at a time when “frontline services continue to come under intense pressure”.

Hospital trusts faced record A&E attendances in June. But a number of other key targets were also missed by the health service – including on ambulance response times and cancer waiting times.

Paula Sherriff, Dewsbury MP and member of the Government’s Health Select Committee, has called on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to tackle A&E understaffing.

She said: “These figures expose the scale of the A&E crisis here in Yorkshire, which is sadly mirrored across the country.

“The Government regularly to fails to meet its own targets, and all year round we now have waiting times previously seen only in the worst winters.”

The June figures are an improvement on A&E performance in December, when hospitals in Hull and Easy Yorkshire reached 81.37 per cent of patients within four hours.

Rising demand, funding cuts and a national shortage of emergency doctors continue to blight hospital services across England. In recent weeks the Grantham and District Hospital announced it was to temporarily close its doors at night, while NHS bosses in St Helens were forced to withdraw plans to ban all non-vital operations for four months in a bid to balance the books.

The Department of Health said that despite shortages at specific A&Es, there were 1,250 extra doctors working in emergency departments compared with 2010.

A spokesman said: “The NHS had its busiest June ever but hospitals are performing well, with nine out of 10 people seen in A&E within four hours – almost 60,000 people per day seen within the standard.”

David Melia, director of quality at Mid Yorks, said the trust is doing “everything possible” to make sure patients are treated promptly and safely within A&E amid “sustained high levels of demand”.