A&E schemes at QA Hospital see ambulance handover times dramatically decrease

The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham
The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

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FREEING up hospital beds has led to huge improvements in the length of time patients have to wait in ambulances to be treated at A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The dramatic drop comes as Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, has made a series of changes to A&E and other departments.

This is good news and shows that the new management are beginning to sort out the issues in A&E.

Flick Drummond

The trust brought in a series of initiatives for A&E following a damning report by the Care Quality Commission in April.

And figures from QA’s integrated performance report shows that the schemes are making headway. Since February – when 16 ambulances were seen queueing outside A&E – the number of people waiting 30 minutes in an ambulance has reduced from 625 to 282 in July.

For patients waiting for 60 minutes or longer, the figure has dropped from 288 in February to 36 in July.

The government target is for nobody to wait more than 15 minutes.

The improvements have been made since the hospital hired Dr Rob Haigh as the executive director for the emergency care pathway and started using a short-stay unit for people expected to stay in the hospital for up to 72 hours.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: ‘We have continued to work hard in recent months to deliver improvements through our Urgent Care Improvement Programme. We are now beginning to see some positive results.

‘There has been an improvement in ambulance handover times, meaning that patients can be triaged much more efficiently when they first arrive.

‘This reduction has been achieved by working alongside our NHS partners to reduce the number of patients that do not need to be in an acute bed for their continuing health or social care, to enable us to safely discharge patients and ensure that we always have sufficient beds for all our ambulance admissions.’

She added they are continuously improving care for A&E patients.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond welcomed the figures, saying: ‘This is good news and shows that the new management are beginning to sort out the issues in A&E. I hope that this progress will continue especially as we have the winter months coming up which will be a challenge.’

Between 120 to 150 people a day are admitted to A&E by South Central Ambulance Service (Scas). That equates to between 3,600 and 4,500 patients a month.

Rob Kemp, head of operations for south east Hampshire at Scas, said: ‘We have seen a decrease in hospital handover delays since the peak of such delays in winter earlier this year.

‘We continue to work closely with our colleagues across the healthcare system in Portsmouth to provide safe systems of care at a time when we are facing increased demand for our 999 service.’

Stats show patients waiting in ambulances decreases

THE number of patients waiting either 30 or 60 minutes to be transferred from ambulances to the emergency department has more than halved.

n February - 625 (288)

n March - 607 (210)

n April - 446 (187)

n May - 446 (183)

n June - 167 (21)

n July - 282 (36)

*Brackets are patients waiting more than 60 minutes