Hospital trust reacts to A&E waiting time figures
The trust in charge of the county's major hospitals has admitted its A&E performance "is nowhere near where we want it" after figures revealed waiting times were the second worst in the country for October.
Newly released figures showed that only 73.3 per cent of patients at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust's A&E departments had been seen within four hours – below the national target of 95 per cent and national average of 90 per cent.
In light of the figures bosses at trust, which manages Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital Telford, have said that their top priority is to ensure patients are treated "safely and appropriately".
Sara Biffen, interim chief operating officer for the trust, said A&E departments at both the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital were "under a great deal of pressure".
The figures come against the background of the trust's management arguing that proceeding with the Future Fit reorganisation of the hospitals is the best way to tackle the challenges faced by the organisation.
Ms Biffen advised that those with minor illness or injuries to consider whether they really need to visit hospital.
“We know that our performance against the A&E target is nowhere near where we want it to be, but our first priority is to ensure our patients are treated safely and appropriately," she said.
“As we have said on many occasions, our A&E departments are under a great deal of pressure, dealing with increasing attendances and more and more complex conditions, such as respiratory problems, which mean more people are being admitted into our hospitals.
“We continue to work with our partners both in the NHS and in social care so that those patients who no longer need the specialist care we provide can leave our hospitals in a safe and timely manner."
Ms Biffen said there were more appropriate health services for those not suffering with conditions appropriate for A&E.
“We would ask people to think carefully before coming to A&E and facing what could be a long and unnecessary wait," she said.
“People suffering from minor illness or injuries can access more appropriate health services, allowing us to focus on those people with serious conditions, who need to be seen urgently.”
Last month Shropshire’s ambulance crews, paramedics and emergency staff experienced the second busiest day of the year.
Ms Biffen suggested that only those who are "seriously unwell or critically injured" attend the A&E.
On November 20, 426 patients attended the trust’s emergency departments in Shrewsbury and Telford – the equivalent of 18 people an hour, every hour.
November 21 continued to be busy, with about 45 ambulances arriving at the A&Es by midday.
Ms Biffen said that Pharmacists are able to give advice on medicine and can use their clinical expertise, together with their practical knowledge to offer advice on common problems such as coughs, colds, aches and pains.
NHS 111 is also available to provide medical help fast when it’s not a 999 emergency.