Shropshire hospitals are sixth worst in country on A&E times targets

The trust in charge of Shropshire's two main hospitals has been named as the sixth worst in the country for A&E waiting times.

Just 78 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in September - way below the national NHS target of 95 per cent, figures show.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) last hit the 95 per cent target in August 2014.

Debbie Kadum, chief operating officer at SATH has previously said the trust is facing difficulties in meeting the A&E waiting time target, but said staff are focussed on providing the best care possible.

She said the reason for the difficulties is down to a shortage of consultants and middle grade doctors.

She said: “It is no secret that our emergency departments are under pressure. In addition to increasing patient numbers, this is due mainly to an insufficient number of consultants and middle grade doctors in our Emergency Departments (EDs).

"It is for this very reason that we are looking at how we deliver emergency services in the county, through the NHS Future Fit process, to ensure we can provide the best care possible for the people of Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.

"We are working with our partners in health and social care to improve this figure, but our first priority is to ensure that those attending our EDs receive the appropriate care."

However, the data does include a positive and shows that SATH, which runs Royal Shrewsbury and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, has hit a national patient target for the first time in over a year.

The trust hit the 92 per cent referral to treatment (RTT) target in September – the first time they have achieved this since May 2016.

The target states that hospitals are required to treat 92 per cent of patients within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP.

Performance at SATH in September was 93 per cent which means seven per cent of patients waited longer than 18 weeks between seeing their GP and having treatment at hospital.

Sara Biffen, deputy chief operating officer, said: “Tackling this issue has been one of our top priorities and this milestone is great for our patients and marks a fantastic achievement for our staff.

“We had an improvement trajectory which demonstrated delivery of the RTT standard from September, which we achieved.

"We did this by weekly patient tracking meetings with each of the speciality teams, and improved administration and patient processes.”

The trust also continues to hit the cancer care targets, with 88 per cent of patients in September being referred for urgent treatment within 62 days. The target is 85 per cent.

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