COMMENT: QA masterplan the key to ending troubles

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Problems at Queen Alexandra Hospital have been piling up in recent years, as its services struggle to cope with a surge in the number of patients young and old requiring treatment.

So it comes as extremely welcome news that a task force has been set up specifically to tackle core issues affecting QA’s operations – not least its A&E department, which has been crippled by demand.

The News has reported on several occasions how the hospital has been placed on ‘black alert’ because it cannot cope, how ambulances are made to wait because there simply isn’t the space for patients requiring care and how the explosion in A&E attendance and waiting times has made the department one of the worst-performing in the country.

And there are the continuing problems with bed-blocking too.

But finally all of these problems are going to be tackled as health experts bang heads together and come up with solutions.

It’s a move our MPs readily welcome, and we join all of those who say this is exactly what patients and those in the profession need to hear.

Let’s now hope talk turns into action and figures start to change. As we reveal today, 74.3 per cent of patients were treated in four hours or less last month.

That simply isn’t good enough – it’s way off the national target of 95 per cent.

But we can all play a big role in helping to ensure this task force can succeed.

People can often get the help they need via walk-in centres and GP surgeries, rather than simply assuming they’ll get seen quicker at A&E. Because that’s not the case.

So think carefully before joining the queues at A&E.