‘Bottom line is to improve’ A&E crisis at QA Hospital

Waiting times in the A&E department at QA Hospital are too long
Waiting times in the A&E department at QA Hospital are too long

South Central Ambulance Service holding forum event

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THE chief executive of the trust behind Queen Alexandra Hospital has said huge improvements need to be made to solve the ongoing A&E crisis.

Ursula Ward, head of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), made the statement at the trust’s annual general meeting.

Ms Ward addressed the trust’s failure to meet the government target of seeing, treating or discharging 95 per cent of patients who come into A&E within four hours.

She said the department is seeing an increase of the number of people coming in.

Ms Ward said: ‘It has been a difficult year, and some improvements have been made with cancer standards.

‘But there’s no doubt about the concerns around unscheduled care.

‘Since July we have had 500 more attendances each month, which is quite significant.

‘We do need to act on this and swiftly.

‘The bottom line is we have got to improve our performance.

‘It’s about delivery and execution, and it’s about pace.

‘We still have a significant number of patients occupying our beds at any given time who don’t need to be in a hospital bed.’

Ms Ward said the extra demand on A&E was leading to patient complaints, financial pressure and staff strain.

As reported, a group of MPs have met with health trusts and local authorities that serve QA, in a bid to solve the problem.

The MP group is led by Fareham MP Mark Hoban, and he has met Penny Mordaunt for Portsmouth North, Caroline Dinenage from Gosport, George Hollingbery from the Meon Valley and East Hampshire’s Damian Hinds.

MPs are working with PHT, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Trust, South Central Ambulance Service, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), to look at improving patient flow in and out of QA.

‘This is a system-wide approach and we’re working with CCGs, our community providers and local authorities to solve this,’ added Ms Ward.

‘Each constituent member has a plan as part of this system, which we will stick to.’

As reported, the trust said it has seen unprecedented demand on its A&E department, and earlier this month had to divert patients to another hospital.

Alternatives to visiting the casualty department

OTHER options are available for people who need medical attention.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, is reminding people of the alternatives to A&E.

If your injury is not serious you can get help from a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), so staff in the emergency department can concentrate on people with serious, life-threatening conditions.

The three MIUs locally are:

n Gosport War Memorial Hospital, open every day from 8am to 9pm. Call (023) 9279 4753.

n St Mary’s Treatment Centre, Portsmouth, open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 8am to 10pm. Call 0333 200 1822.

n Petersfield Community Hospital, open daily from 8am to 6pm. Call 01730 263221.

MIUs can treat injuries and illnesses such as cuts and grazes, sprains and strains, broken bones and fractures, bites and stings, infected wounds, minor head injuries and minor eye problems.

X-rays are also available.