Waiting times worsen at Queen Alexandra Hospital A&E department

An ambulance at the accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
An ambulance at the accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

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MORE patients than ever are having to wait more than four hours to be seen at A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The benchmark is to see, treat or discharge 95 per cent of patients in four hours.

But latest figures from NHS England show for the week ending Sunday, January 4, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, only managed to do this 61.5 per cent of the time – the lowest in the past five weeks.

The national average also fell to 79.8 per cent.

Clinical Commissioning Groups, which pay for health services in the area, have said in the past three weeks 2,400 people have been admitted into QA from A&E, which equates to 114 people daily.

Calls are being made for health bosses to get to grips with the underlying problems the system faces.

Fareham MP Mark Hoban said: ‘What these benchmarks do not capture is the underlying issues.

‘Speaking to health bosses locally, they say these figures do not reflect what is happening.

‘In QA’s A&E department we know a lot of the patients have a lot of complex needs.

‘This means it can be difficult to assess them and hard to get to grips with what they need.

‘There needs to be more analysis on the types of patients coming in and work out why they are arriving at A&E.

‘These figures are a headline measure and there needs to be more work.

‘Of course things are already taking place, such as more beds being opened in Gosport War Memorial Hospital.’

A patient watchdog group is calling for a more in-depth look.

Steve Taylor, manager of Healthwatch Hampshire, said: ‘Clearly this is a national problem, and locally it’s not just QA’s problem.

‘This is a whole-system service and it all needs to be looked at.

‘There’s not a week goes by that A&E is not in the headlines.’

PHT is pleading with people to only use A&E in an absolute emergency.

A spokesman said: ‘If your problem isn’t a real emergency, or you aren’t sure what to do, don’t dial 999 or head to ED.

‘Staff at QA, and throughout the whole NHS, are working flat out at the moment to care for the most poorly, vulnerable people.

‘Help us to do that, and only use the emergency services for real emergencies.’

The three minor injuries units 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.

People can also visit pharmacies, call the out-of-hours GP service or NHS 111, which is open around the clock every day.