We’ve hit recovery target – despite March being our busiest month ever

Queen''s and King George hospital exteriors

Matthew Trainer image and quote graphic

March was our busiest month on record. We had more than 30,000 people coming through our A&Es and urgent treatment centres, an increase of over 100 patients every day compared with March 2019. Our teams have worked incredibly hard to care for this growing number of patients and meet the national recovery performance target. Despite this achievement, we know too many people are still waiting too long.

The latest NHS England A&E performance figures, published on Thursday 11 April, showed we treated 77.57 per cent of all patients within four hours, ahead of the national recovery target of 76 per cent by the end of March. This means 7,300 more patients were seen, treated, and either sent home or admitted within four hours compared with March 2023.

Our Type 1 performance (those who are most seriously ill), was 54.4 per cent, two per cent more than the previous month and up from 34.9 per cent in March 2023. We moved last year from having one of the worst performing A&Es in England to being the most improved for Type 1 performance.

Our Chief Executive, Matthew Trainer, said: “It’s thanks to our staff and to the colleagues who run our urgent treatment centres that waiting times continue to drop at Queen’s and King George hospitals. I am pleased we hit the national target, and it does mean thousands more people were treated on time.

“But too many of our sickest patients are still having a poor experience. In March, many of our elderly patients had to spend the night on beds in the corridors of our emergency departments due to overcrowding and long waits for admission. This puts what we’ve achieved in context, and we have a lot more work to do to put an end to corridor care.”

This will be helped by a number of developments including a frailty unit at the soon to be opened St George’s Health and Wellbeing Hub in Hornchurch; our new Same Day Emergency Care department at King George Hospital that has seen its first patients; and a redesign of the emergency department at Queen’s Hospital. We’ve had preliminary discussions to secure the £35m needed to improve the department.

When Queen’s was opened in 2006, it was designed to accommodate around 300 patients a day who were seeking urgent and emergency care. Now, more than double that number come through its doors on average, and at peak times it can be as high as 750 patients.

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