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Shropshire A&E waiting times continue to miss targets

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Fewer than seven out of 10 A&E admissions in Shropshire are meeting national waiting time guidelines, figures reveal today.

Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital have come 130th out of 133 for meeting targets.

The national target for A&E patients being seen or admitted within four hours is 95 per cent. In Shropshire the figure for December slumped to 69.3 per cent.

Nationally, 85.1 per cent of patients were seen within the target time. It meant the NHS ended the year with the same A&E waiting time performance level in December as at the start of the year, equalling January's record low and the worst result since the target was introduced in 2004.

The 95 per cent target was last hit at hospitals in Shrewsbury and Telford in August 2014.

The figures come as it was revealed a letter from senior medics at more than 60 A&E departments in England and Wales, including Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, was sent to Theresa May.

The letter warns that the "current level of safety compromise is at times intolerable," as the winter months put the NHS under further strain.

Nationally more than 5,000 people were forced to wait more than an hour to be first seen and assessed in emergency departments in England in the first week of the year, while more than 16,600 people had to wait more than half an hour, the NHS England statistics show.

Staff have been faced with rising numbers of flu cases and respiratory illness, with 48 flu-related deaths in England so far this winter.

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The letter adds: "The facts remain that the NHS is severely and chronically underfunded. Some of our own personal experiences range from over 120 patients a day managed in corridors, some dying prematurely."

Sara Biffen, interim chief operating officer at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Our emergency departments, in common with departments across the country, continue to deal with very high attendances and complex conditions.

"As we have said before, we know that our performance against the A&E target is not where we want it to be, but our priority continues to be to ensure our patients are treated safely and appropriately. 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.”

“Whilst the latest A&E figures are disappointing, it is pleasing to see that SaTH was way above the target of 85 per cent and the national average of 82.5 per cent for cancer care, at almost 89 per cent (in the top 30 trusts in the country) and the seventh best performing trust in the country for planned operations and care with almost 95 per cent of our patients waiting less than 18 weeks, against a target of 92 per cent and an average of 89.5 per cent.”

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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