Health secretary Jeremy Hunt wants to know how Queen Alexandra Hospital boss thinks A&E wait times can be improved as it’s earmarked as one of the worst-performing in the country

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt
  • Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt is to speak to QA boss and report back to health secretary
  • Trust came out as worst in the country for October’s A&E waiting time figures
  • It’s a benchmark QA has missed for the past two years
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THE chief executive of the trust running Queen Alexandra Hospital has been asked by the health secretary to explain what needs to be done to improve A&E waiting times.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs QA at Cosham, has been flagged up as one of five trusts in the country that is failing to meet government A&E benchmarks.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt spoke to Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt about the issue this week.

She said: ‘The secretary has done a scrub on some of the poorest-performing trusts – there are about five trusts involved, including the QA.

‘I will be going to Ursula Ward to ask specifically what she thinks needs to be done to sort this out.’

PHT has failed to either see, treat, or discharge 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours, for the past two years.

And last week figures by NHS England revealed PHT only managed to do this 71.6 per cent of the time in October – the worst rate in the country.

In September the figure was just under 80 per cent.This is despite a raft of measures the trust said it had put in place to improve the situation.

Ms Mordaunt added: ‘We need to do whatever it takes to get this right. There are things the hospital is doing right and well, but clearly there are kinks and these need to be sorted out.’

Ms Mordaunt hopes to meet with Ms Ward by the end of this week and will then hold another meeting with Mr Hunt to give an update.

Since last winter MPs in the Portsmouth and south east Hampshire area have been meeting with PHT, along with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG), community providers Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council, to try to solve the problem.

But despite this, in a two-week period in October into November, 37 patients were diverted away from QA and taken to other hospitals, as the site was full.

Dr Jim Hogan, lead of the Portsmouth CCG, said: ‘I welcome MPs getting involved to help. The whole health system locally is involved in a plan to improve these figures. And there have been changes, such as the number of patients being taken to hospital is falling.

‘So the conditions should be better to enable the target to be met, but we are still not seeing that.’