Health boss says Shropshire's A&E performance is 'unacceptable'
Being the worst in the country for A&E waiting times is unacceptable and will not be tolerated, a Telford & Wrekin health boss has said.
Chief officer David Evans was speaking at a meeting of Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning group.
It comes after figures from NHS England showed that Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) recorded the worst A&E waiting times last month, with around a third of patients having to wait longer than the four-hour government target.
Mr Evans said: "We do need to take some urgent action. We will be having discussions with the trust and partners to see what we can do. This is not an acceptable level of performance.
"Patients are not getting the experience they should and they deserve.We have to do something about this."
He said on some days, at one of the sites, less than half of patients were seen within four hours.
Mr Evans said that factors surrounding patient discharge could be one of the reasons for poor A&E performance.
He said: "Much of the issue now is around internal flow around the hospital. That's what we need to focus on as a system. This CCG will not tolerate that level of performance."
He said there were limitations to what the CCG could do, adding: "Our ability to use financial penalties has gone. We need to look at what are the alternatives we can use to reduce demand."
More than 8,500 patients were seen in Shropshire's A&E departments, at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, last month.
The government says that 95 per cent of patients should be seen within four hours in A&E, but the target has not been met in Shropshire for some time.
Simon Wright, chief executive of SaTH, previously said he did not want to be in the position where the trust had the lowest A&E waiting times in the country.
However, he said the trust had not been bottom overall when considering figures for the past year.
He added: "I think that talks for the need for the bigger structural changes, but we’ve got to get off the bottom of this pile and we will.”
SaTH has struggled to recruit doctors for its A&E departments and, after a consultant recently resigned, now faces a decision about whether to bring in a temporary overnight closure of the emergency department at PRH.
Hospital bosses can activate a contingency plan which would see the emergency department at PRH close between the hours of 8pm to 8am for up to two weeks. Night staff from PRH would be relocated to RSH.
But bosses say they are doing all they can to avoid taking this measure.The trust says it is looking at how to secure enough staff and has sought help from neighbouring health trusts.