What will be done to 
address A&E waiting times?

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On Thursday we led with a story about how the number of patients waiting for more than four hours at A&E in Queen Alexandra Hospital has increased.

At the time Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, told us that there was no-one available to comment.

It took them a further two days to provide a response, but even now they are choosing to hide behind an unnamed spokesman with a comment that doesn’t offer any form of apology for the increase in waiting times.

Instead it offered a litany of ‘challenges’ that face the hospital and its emergency department, including ‘deprivation, alcohol misuse and a growing birth rate,’ as well as an ageing population.

It fails to address what is going to be done to turn this situation around. The figures for 2013 were already six per cent worse than for the previous year. How is this going to be turned around by the time next year’s figures are relased? Or will it just be more excuses?

Blaming it on problems and effectively saying: ‘Well, everyone else has got to deal with these problems too and they’re well documented’, is frankly not good enough.

The spokesman’s comment acknowledges the hard work of the staff.

There is no doubt that the doctors and nurses at QA work hard and are dedicated to their jobs. But they need to be backed up by effective management and there needs to be an action plan put in place.

We asked a number of questions in our leader comment on Thursday about what is going on at QA and what could have led to the poor results – PHT has yet to answer any of those questions in its response to us.

Yes, statistics can be massaged any number of ways, but Syd Rapson, chairman of the board of governors for PHT has already said that the ‘strain is beginning to show and that’s worrying,’ at the hospital and that he will be bringing it up at their next meeting.

We look forward to hearing what comes out of that meeting.

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