Old age could be cause of more people in A&E at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital


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HEALTH commissioners have promised to investigate why Portsmouth’s super-hospital has seen an increase in patients going through its doors.

As reported in yesterday’s News, the trust that runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, is £6.9m in debt – £3.1m more than it thought it would be at this point in the financial year.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) said this is due to more people coming into the A&E department.

In the last financial year of 2011/12, there were 43,137.

But this figure has already been exceeded five months into the financial year, as 44,869 people have visited the emergency department.

If this trend continues, then PHT expects 5,000 more patients through A&E compared to last year.

Dr Jim Hogan, is the leader of the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

From April next year CCGs will be in charge of allocating NHS funding for local services.

He said: ‘We look at what activity we had last year and see if it is expected to increase or decrease.

‘It isn’t an exact science, and this time this has been exceeded.

‘We have got to understand this is a problem for all of us, and we must sit together with PHT to see what the solution is. We will explore what has happened.’

Andrew Mortimore, the interim director of public health in Portsmouth, believes an ageing population could be to blame for the surge.

He said: ‘Year on year we are seeing more people go into the hospital system.

‘As the population gets older, more suffer from multiple illnesses that accumulate and then require hospital care.

‘We need to see if they can be treated in the community to avoid being admitted.’