News, Culture & Society

Only ONE NHS trust hit the target of seeing 95% of A&E patients in four hours in 2019


Buying or leasing a car in the UK? Check MOT of car before you do.

Only one hospital trust in England treated its A&E patients within the NHS time target last year, MailOnline can reveal.

Yeovil District Hospital was the only place that managed to process 95 per cent of its patients within four hours of their arrival. Its average for the year was 96.3 per cent.

Statistics analysed by this website reveal that 117 comparable hospitals across the country all missed the mark.

The worst performing trust, in Stockport, Greater Manchester, completed just 70 per cent of visits in time, meaning almost a third of its patients waited for longer.

Doctors said the damning figures show the health service has ‘deteriorated’ and people now face ‘undignified’ and ‘risky’ conditions when they seek medical help.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday sparked a row by hinting that the four-hour standard, set in its current form in 2010, could be scrapped completely.

But critics say this would amount to ‘moving the goalposts’ and just hide the dire conditions behind English hospital doors.

Yeovil District Hospital, in Somerset, is run by the only NHS trust in England which managed to process 95 per cent of its A&E patients within the NHS’s four-hour target time in 2019

Annual averages of monthly A&E performances revealed 24 trusts – each of which runs at least one emergency department – posted figures below 80 per cent.

A further 75 trusts processed between 80 and 90 per cent of their patients within four hours, meaning one in 10 at those hospitals waited for longer.

And 19, including Yeovil, managed more than 90 per cent. 

Yeovil District Hospital had a relatively low number of patients – around 85,000 – but three of the worst-performing trusts had even fewer than that.

Longer waits in A&E can be distressing for patients and potentially let them deteriorate before they’re seen by a doctor, but they also hold up ambulance crews who are supposed to be in and out of the hospital within 15 minutes.

‘These figures show clearly how our health service has deteriorated, despite the best efforts of an understaffed and overstretched workforce,’ Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told MailOnline.

‘Conditions for patients are getting worse; thousands now have to stay long periods on trollies in corridors or in the back of an ambulance that cannot offload.

‘This is undignified and puts lives at risk.’

Dr Susan Crossland, the president of the Acute Society of Medicine, added: ‘I think the fact that only one trust have met the target in 2019 shows the intense pressure acute and emergency services have been under for a sustained period.

‘And despite us constantly asking for better planning, further resources and better staffing, we have been asked to continue providing the same level of safe care with ever decreasing resources. I hope Mr Hancock will listen.’

A geographical breakdown of the figures shows that, behind Stockport, the worst-performing trusts last year were Shrewsbury and Telford (73.91 per cent); the Princess Alexandra in Essex (74.9 per cent); Bradford Teaching Hospitals (75.18 per cent) and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals (75.41 per cent).

The Princess Alexandra refuted the NHS statistics and said its true figure was 75.04 per cent within four hours, which does not change its ranking.

Stockport NHS trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital (pictured), had the worst performing emergency department in England last year, with only 70 per cent of its patients getting discharged or admitted within four hours

Stockport NHS trust, which runs Stepping Hill Hospital (pictured), had the worst performing emergency department in England last year, with only 70 per cent of its patients getting discharged or admitted within four hours

At the other end of the scale, the best performers, after Yeovil, were Surrey and Sussex Healthcare (94.3 per cent); the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals (94.12 per cent); Northumbria Healthcare (93.89 per cent) and Homerton University Hospital in London (93.59 per cent).

The figures are revealed after Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday said in a radio interview that the four-hour target is not ‘clinically appropriate’.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘The problem with that target is that, increasingly, people can be treated on the day and able to go home.

‘That is much better for the patient and also better for the NHS, and yet the way that’s counted in the target doesn’t work.’

The NHS as a whole has not hit the 95 per cent target for almost five years – it last succeeded in July 2015.

And a trial is under way in 14 hospitals – which weren’t counted in today’s data – to record A&E waits in a different way, which Mr Hancock hinted could be the future.

Doctors’ organisations, however, say there is no evidence that the trial method is at all suitable and they have called for the testing to be stopped.

WHERE DID A&E DEPARTMENTS PERFORM BEST IN 2019? 

(Percentage of patients treated, discharged or admitted within four hours)

  1. Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (96.36%)
  2. Surrey And Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (94.30%)
  3. The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (94.12%)
  4. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (93.89%)
  5. Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (93.59%)
  6. Harrogate And District NHS Foundation Trust (92.49%)
  7. Barnsley Hospital (92.39%)
  8. Basildon & Thurrock (92.35%)
  9. Dorset County Hospital (91.58%)
  10. Calderdale And Huddersfield NHS Trust (91.25%)

Source: NHS England monthly A&E attendance reports 

WHERE DID A&E DEPARTMENTS PERFORM WORST IN 2019? 

(Percentage of patients treated, discharged or admitted within four hours) 

  1. Stockport NHS Foundation Trust (70.31%)
  2. Shrewsbury And Telford Hospital NHS Trust (73.91%)
  3. The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (74.90%)
  4. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (75.18%)
  5. Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (75.41%)
  6. Norfolk &Norwich University Hospitals  (76.20%)
  7. East Cheshire NHS Trust (76.42%)
  8. Isle Of Wight NHS Trust (76.52%)
  9. Wye Valley NHS Trust (77.02%)
  10. Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (77.36%)

Source: NHS England monthly A&E attendance reports 

Dr Simon Walsh, an emergency medicine expert at the British Medical Association, said yesterday that replacing targets ‘does not address fundamental issues’.

‘Targets are an important indicator when services are struggling,’ he said, ‘and there is a very real concern that any change to targets will effectively mask underperformance and the effects of the decisions that politicians make about resourcing the NHS.’

The A&E wait statistics come as the health service faced a torrid year.

Ambulance delays this winter have been more frequent and lengthy than at any time in the past two years – in the first week of January one in five ambulance patients (18 per cent) had to wait half an hour or more to be handed over to hospital staff.

And the waiting list for planned surgery last year soared to its highest level ever – there are now 4.42million people waiting for operations.

But hospitals are so busy many of these operations are being cancelled and a recent survey found four out of 10 surgeons have had to change their procedures because  patients’ conditions got worse during a long wait.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said 'targets have to be clinically appropriate', and suggested the four-hour A&E wait standard might be scrapped in favour of basing visits on priority

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ‘targets have to be clinically appropriate’, and suggested the four-hour A&E wait standard might be scrapped in favour of basing visits on priority

Stockport NHS Trust, which came off worst in today’s figures, has apologised to people using its hospital.

The chief executive, Louise Robson, said: ‘I’d like to apologise to local people who have experienced long waits in our A&E and any family, friends and carers who attended with them. This experience is not what we want for our patients.

A&E units are under immense pressure nationally, with some of the longest waiting times in years. 

‘In our area we serve a population that has a high portion of older people, who are often frail with complex conditions and they place a particular demand on our emergency services. 

Our staff work tirelessly in very busy conditions to ensure that the people who need our support receive good quality care. 

‘In response to current pressures we have recently opened 57 extra beds, and we are continuing to work closely with colleagues across the health and care system on longer term solutions to the pressures our services face. The public can help by only visiting our A&E if it is a genuine emergency.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.