How busy is YOUR A&E? NHS statistics give a local breakdown

How busy is YOUR A&E? As shocking NHS figures reveal casualty units are faring worse than ever, we reveal how as few as 62.9% of patients are being seen within four hours at the worst-hit hospitals

  • Hospitals in Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Shropshire had the worst performances
  • Bosses blame soaring patient numbers and people who don’t need to be in A&E 
  • Nationally, England’s performance is worse than at any time on record
  • One in six A&E patients waited for more than four hours to be treated in October
  • Type in the name of your local trust below to see its performance
  • Have you spent more than four hours in A&E before being admitted to hospital? Email [email protected]

More than a third of A&E patients were not treated within four hours at England’s worst-performing casualty unit last month, NHS figures show.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals processed 62.9 per cent of its patients within the target time – the lowest figure recorded in the country.

Five other trusts, including ones in Birmingham, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire also dropped below the 70 per cent mark in October. 

Data from the health service yesterday revealed last month was the worst on record for emergency department performance.

Across England one in six patients needing urgent care had to wait more than four hours for it, as only 83.6 per cent of people were treated within the target time.

Experts warned the NHS, already struggling from a busy summer, was heading for one of the ‘bleakest winters’ in its history. 

Hospital bosses say huge increases in patient numbers are clogging up their A&E departments, among them patients who don’t need to be there and who face long waits because they aren’t urgent cases.

NHS statistics have revealed a geographical breakdown of how A&E departments are faring across the country – some in Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Shropshire recorded the worst figures for England

Yesterday the general secretary of the UNISON union, Dave Prentis, said: ‘Patients left in agony on trolleys for hours and poorly visitors waiting for hours in A&E, forced to sit on floors because of a lack of chairs, has become the new normal.

‘Years of underfunding and an endless staffing crisis show the Conservatives are simply not fit to run our NHS.

‘These are the worst ever A&E figures yet the winter has barely begun. It’s a shocking state of affairs and should be of huge concern to every one of us.’

The statistics showed people attended A&E departments 2,170,510 times in October – 70,016 visits per day – a 4.4 per cent rise from October last year.

The proportion of these seen within the NHS’s four-hour target time ranged across the country, from a low of 62.9 per cent to 97.8 per cent. 

Behind Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals was United Lincolnshire Hospitals (64.2 per cent).

This was followed by Shrewsbury and Telford (64.4 per cent), University Hospitals Birmingham (66 per cent) and Stockport (66.8 per cent).

At the other end of the scale among hospitals with comparable patient numbers came Northumbria Healthcare (95.7 per cent).

It was followed by Barnsley Hospital (95.2 per cent), Homerton University Hospital in London (94 per cent), Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals (93.6 per cent) and Yeovil Distric Hospital (92.4 per cent).

WHAT IS THE NHS’S FOUR-HOUR A&E TARGET?

The NHS’s four-hour A&E target is one set out in the NHS constitution which dictates 95 per cent of all emergency patients in England should be admitted to hospital or discharged within four hours of arriving.

Hospitals’ performance against this measure has been tracked for more than a decade.

At a national level the NHS hasn’t hit the 95 per cent target since July 2015, when it was 95.2 per cent.

Since then there has been a steady decline to October 2019’s record low of 83.6 per cent.

That low meant that one out of every six people who went to A&E in that month waited there for more than four hours – more than 320,000 people. 

The woeful figures come at a time when the NHS is trying to scrap the four-hour target completely.

Unable to meet the ambitious 95 per cent, the health service is now trying to switch to a system which doesn’t measure waiting times against a set benchmark but simply tries to treat the more urgent cases faster and loosens the limit for less serious patients.

A total of 40 hospitals’ performances were above average, while 77 were below. One – Whittington Health in London – was the same as the national figure.

The reasons why some hospitals’ performances are worse than other can depend on a number of things. 

NHS funding, the ages and general health of local people and how populations or demand have changed since hospitals were built may all play a role.

Statistics show that as people are living longer lives and conditions like obesity and diabetes are on the rise, increasing numbers of patients have more than one serious illness which can mean it’s more difficult to treat them. 

The director of operations at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Simon Evans, said: ‘Our A&E performance is not where we want it to be and we would like to apologise for this. 

‘Over recent months we have seen a significant increase in the number of very poorly patients attending at our A&Es, as well as cases of the winter vomiting bug norovirus. 

‘This has coincided with a reduction in the number of patients being discharged from our hospitals, which has unfortunately resulted in long delays for some of our patients in A&E. 

‘If someone comes to A&E and it is not an emergency, they may have a long wait as we will always prioritise the sickest patients. Please consider if you could be helped by visiting your local pharmacy, by contacting your GP, or attending an urgent care centre.’

Just 83.6 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in October, a record low which meant 320,000 people sat for longer while medics decided what to do with them

WHICH HOSPITAL TRUSTS TREATED THE MOST PATIENTS WITHIN FOUR HOURS? 

NB: Sheffield Children’s Hospital excluded from comparison

WHICH HOSPITAL TRUSTS TREATED THE FEWEST PATIENTS WITHIN FOUR HOURS? 

 Source: NHS England performance statistics 

Nigel Lee, chief operating officer of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: ‘In the three months from July to September this year we saw almost 39,000 people come through the doors of our emergency departments.

‘[This is] a rise of more than 4,100 on the same period in 2018. That is the equivalent of an additional 45 people a day, every day, for three months.

‘That trend continued in October, when we saw 12,399 ED attendances – 1,135 more than in October 2018 – with 3,985 ambulance arrivals – 621 more than this time last year, and we know that this is a pattern being repeated across the country. 

‘More complex cases have more complex needs which take longer to meet, but we will not compromise on patient care.’

A spokesperson for Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS trust said the trust was opening a new ward next year to cope with demand.

They said: ‘The last few months have been particularly challenging with high numbers of emergency attendances and an increase in admissions. 

‘Our emergency and urgent care staff are seeing on average more than 400 patients a day and are doing the best they can to assess and treat patients as quickly as possible.’ 

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