THE tide could be turning for busy hospital staff in South Tyneside as accident and emergency waiting times improve – but they are still below Government targets.
The latest figures, for the week ending January 11, show that 81.4 per cent of the 1,040 patients reporting to South Tyneside District Hospital’s A&E department, in South Shields, were either referred, admitted or discharged within the four-hour time limit.
This is below the Government’s 95 per cent target, but an improvement on the previous week’s figures which saw just 74.2 per cent of the 1,061 patients being treated within the four-hour limit.
South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer Steve Williamson said: “The situation regarding the demand on our services remains very challenging, with continuing high attendances at A&E, and significant numbers of patients with severe, complex conditions occupying our in-patient beds.
“However, we have seen some improvement. This is partly due to the hard work of our staff at South Tyneside District Hospital, and in the community, both clinical and non-clinical, who are doing a fantastic job, day after day.
“It is amazing and humbling to witness their dedication and willingness to help, with many working outside their usual roles and putting in extra hours, which is greatly appreciated.”
He added: “Another contributory factor in the easing of pressure has, undoubtedly, been the response of the public. They have heard the message about only using A&E when very ill or with serious conditions.
“The advice remains the same, patients with injuries that are over 48 hours old or who have had low-level pain for a few days, should see their GP first. Those with ailments, such as coughs and colds, are urged to self-care and ask their local pharmacist for advice.”