Throughout this year our teams have been working hard to reduce waits our patient face in our A&Es. Their efforts are paying off as national statistics released on Thursday 14 December by NHS England show our Trust has improved its emergency care performance most in England.
In January our performance against the national target for those who are most seriously ill (Type 1) was 32.23 per cent. The work of our teams over several months saw this rise to 50.1 per cent in November. This means more than 1,500 more people were seen and treated within four hours than in January. We also saw a fall of more than 20 per cent in patients spending over 12 hours in the department.
Improvements which played a role in achieving this include the opening of Same Day Emergency Care departments (SDEC), where patients are moved out of A&E to be assessed and have treatment (including diagnostics) start on the same day. We’ve also improved operational leadership and clinical engagement.
Our Chief Executive, Matthew Trainer, said: “We know we have a long way to go, and I apologise to those patients who are still facing long waits. However, our teams are working hard to provide the best possible care, often under challenging circumstances, and it’s important we recognise these milestones in our ongoing improvement.
“Some key changes have been made this year which is why we have seen our Type 1 performance improve more than any other trust, albeit from a low starting point. We’re continuing to build on this – we’ve introduced virtual wards to help care for frail patients in their own homes with the right support, and we’ll soon be opening a surgical assessment unit, which will allow us to move patients needing surgery out of A&E, further reducing pressure this winter.”
Earlier this month we also changed how patients access our Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC), run by our partner PELC, at Queen’s Hospital. This formed part of a reconfiguration of our department, removing queues for the UTC from our hospital atrium, and giving patients a more comfortable place to be assessed and await their next steps.
This has already seen PELC’s performance treating the less seriously ill patients (Type 3) improve, hitting around 90 per cent. As this change just took place, the full benefits will be seen in the December performance statistics, which will be published in mid-January.
Our overall four-hour performance is split roughly down the middle between our Trust and PELC.
The national standard is 95 per cent; a recovery target of 76 per cent has been set with the expectation it will be hit by March 2024. In November, our performance for all types was 68.7 per cent.