THE local health trust has failed to hit its four hour Accident & Emergency waiting time target for the 11th consecutive month.
In papers to go before the board of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS, figures show that the Government-set target of 95 per cent fell to 91 per cent at the Alexandra Hospital in August while at Worcestershire Royal Hospital – where many patients from Redditch would be transferred to under plans being considered by the Trust – the numbers rose, but only to 78.8 per cent.
“Wait time to initial assessment and total time in the Emergency Departments (ED) continues to exceed performance thresholds however there has been no repeat of the extreme delays reported in the last quarter of 2014/15 and some evidence of significant improvement towards the end of August/early September,” a report to the board says.
It put the end of month improvement down to dedicated nurses working in the A&E corridor helping early handover of patients from ambulance staff.
However it adds that, fundamentally, patient throughput in A&E is being slowed by the continuing problem of high bed occupancy elsewhere in the Trust’s hospitals.
This could well be down to patients fit enough to leave hospital but with no care package or halfway house for them to go to once they leave the premises.
To combat delays in the emergency departments the Trust has reinforced the need for rapid effective discharge, introduced a ‘full capacity’ protocol to spread the issue Trust-wide in a bid to free up beds for A&E patients, and provided extra staff at peak times in the department.
Elsewhere, the Trust again missed its 18 week Referral to Treatment Target, achieving 89.4 per cent against a target of 92 per cent, affecting some 3,008 patients.
However in respect of cancer standards the Trust improved overall although it once again missed the 93 per cent target of seeing urgent cancer referrals within two weeks, performance declining from 83.1 per cent in July to 81.8 per cent in August.