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Local NHS Hospitals criticised for waiting times

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals and Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust both had more than a third of patients waiting more than 4 hours in A&E

Figures from NHS England have revealed that three West Midlands NHS Trusts are some of the worst performers in England.

Worcestershire Acute Hospital Trust had 35.2% of visitors to A&E waiting more than 4 hours, meanwhile Shrewsbury and Telford had 34.6% waiting. It puts them in the bottom 10 in the country.

NHS England

Meanwhile in Wolverhampton, only 61% of patients who were urgently referred by a GP received cancer treatment within the 62 day deadline.

The national target is 85% - this puts The Royal Wolverhampton Trust at the bottom of the table.

NHS England

Nigel Lee, Chief Operating Officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Our Emergency Departments (EDs) continue to see big increases in demand.

“In the three months from July to September this year we saw almost 39,000 people come through the doors of our emergency departments – a rise of more than 4,100 on the same period in 2018. That is the equivalent of an additional 45 people a day, every day, for three months, and we know that this is a pattern being repeated across the country.

“Our priority is to ensure that patients arriving at our Emergency Departments receive the right treatment. More complex cases have more complex needs which take longer to meet, but we will not compromise on patient care.

“We are aiming to review, treat and discharge as many patients as possible on the same day for surgical and medical conditions and, working with our system partners, to ensure that patients are transferred home or other suitable care environment with support with the minimum of delay.”

Meanwhile Matthew Hopkins, Chief Executive of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Demand on our emergency departments continues to be very high and the last few days have been particularly busy.

“Staff in our Emergency Departments are working very hard to ensure that our patients get the best, safest care possible. Despite their efforts, and the efforts of GPs, community staff and social care, we know that patients are still waiting longer to be seen than we would want.

“We continue to see an increased number of attendances at our emergency departments when compared with the same week last year. This year so far we have seen an increase of 4.5% in the number of patients using our Emergency Departments .

“We would advise the public to help us by choosing their health services wisely, and only attend A&E if they really need to.”

David Loughton CBE, Chief Executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “We are diagnosing and treating more people than ever before for cancer. Our multidisciplinary staff are working exceptionally hard to provide the best care to the highest standards as quickly as they can for all tumour sites. We have seen a 10 per cent increase in the number of patients due to people choosing to use our cancer services, and this means that we do not always have the capacity to treat patients within the expected timeframe.

“We have been working with our neighbouring trusts (Walsall and Dudley) to support the demand for breast two-week wait across the Black Country STP. Waiting times at neighbouring trusts were much less than at The Royal Wolverhampton and therefore with agreement between trusts, CCGs and local GP’s women have been be diverted from New Cross Hospital to the nearby trusts to reduce their waiting time to be seen on the two week pathway. This collaborative working has resulted in a reduction in the waiting time experienced for patients referred to The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. This work is ongoing to ensure equality in waiting times for patients across the three local Black country trusts.

“In order to improve our overall cancer performance against other standards, we are working extensively with NHS Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and have sought the support of the regional cancer alliance team and national cancer intensive support team. Their support has identified some opportunities for improvement, however it has recognised that there are significant capacity constraints given the level of referrals the Trust is receiving. They have also confirmed the good processes and pathways we have in place. Any patient who waits over 62 or 104 days for their treatment has a harm review completed in a joint process between the Trust and the CCG. No harm has been identified.

“Recruitment is also underway in a number of areas to create additional capacity, including breast radiographers, consultant radiographers and clinical oncologists. However, there is not a quick fix to some of the recruitment challenges, which are national challenges as well as local to Wolverhampton.”

“I am proud of our cancer teams working across the Trust, they are hard-working and continue to provide brilliant care for our patients 24/7 often under high pressure.

“There is still a way to go, but rest assured we are doing all we can to minimise the wait for patients.”

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