A&E delays for nearly 2,000 patients

WAIT ... Helen Ray, the Trust's chief operating officer for clinical services.
WAIT ... Helen Ray, the Trust's chief operating officer for clinical services.

NEARLY 2,000 patients have had to wait more than the Government target of four hours for treatment in South Tyneside.

According to NHS targets, 95 per cent of patients to A&E should be seen by medical staff within four hours of arrival.

However, since last September South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust missed the target for a total of 14 weeks.

This saw 1,975 people having to wait longer than the four hours at South Tyneside District Hospital’s A&E department in Harton Lane, according to data released by NHS England and compiled by the Labour Party.

But health bosses say the majority of the delays were caused by the unprecedented number of patients over the winter period. And now they are back on track with more than 96 per cent of patients being treated within the expected time.

Helen Ray, the Trust’s chief operating officer for clinical services, said: “Following a very demanding winter, where the Trust experienced an unprecedented volume of emergency activity, we continue to deal with testing circumstances in our A&E department, as do the majority of Trusts around the country.

“On a daily basis the four-hour A&E target can be challenging.

“However, our current performance is over 96 per cent against the target.

“Staff work extremely hard to ensure patients are seen as quickly as possible, and we do meet this for the vast majority of our patients. It is vital to say, however, that when a patient needs A&E care the most important thing is to make sure we are treating each individual patient based around their illness and clinical need.”

The biggest delays in the region were at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS foundation Trust, which missed the NHS target for 27 weeks.

The best was Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which had zero delays.