EXTRA staff are being drafted in as accident and emergency waiting times at South Tyneside District Hospital fall even further from Government targets.
People turning up to the unit, in Harton Lane, South Shields, during the New Year’s Eve week, faced some of the longest waits in the region.
For the week ending January 4, a total of 1,061 patients reported to A&E but only 74.2 per cent of those were transferred, admitted or discharged within four hours – below the Government’s requirement of 95 per cent. The previous week the figure was 78 per cent.
Hospital bosses have apologised and said that there will be extra staff working this weekend to help tackle waiting times. Steve Williamson, chief operating officer for South Tyneside NHS foundation Trust, said: “We continue to experience extremely busy activity in our A&E department coupled with a significant number of complex patients occupying our in-patient beds.
“This makes it difficult for us to discharge the number of patients necessary to meet the demands on the service.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and are extremely grateful to people for their patience and understanding during this very difficult time.”
He added: “We have drafted in additional staff to ensure those patients who are fit for discharge are able to be discharged to an appropriate location for their needs.”