QA explains poor A&E waiting time turnover figures

The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital
The accident and emergency department at Queen Alexandra Hospital
Leanna Stratford, left, and Jo Evans

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OLDER people, alcohol misuse and a growing birth rate are some of the reasons why a hospital trust said it’s not meeting the four-hour A&E turnover time.

As reported, the number of patients waiting in Queen Alexandra’s emergency department (ED), has increased.

Figures from NHS England show on average last month, 85 per cent of those attending ED at the Cosham-hospital were either admitted, transferred or discharged within the government guideline time of four hours.

That figure was six per cent less than QA’s average in September 2012 – and 10 per cent less than the national benchmark.

A spokesman for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs QA, said: ‘The challenges many EDs are facing this year have been widely reported on TV and in the news. PHT is not exempt from those challenges.

‘We have an ageing population with increasing care needs as well as the demands that a large inner city area like Portsmouth brings with regards to deprivation, alcohol misuse and a growing birth rate.

‘All of this creates demand because when people are unwell they want to be seen quickly and safely and an ED is a service patients understand they can rely on to always be open.’

The trust said it aims to deal with more serious patients first, and that it has a well-staffed department – it also says it is working with community healthcare providers.

The spokesman added: ‘Patients are seen and assessed quickly by a senior nurse or doctor when they arrive. This is to ensure that even when we are very busy, the patients who are very unwell and/or badly injured are seen first.

‘This can, at very busy times, result in those with less serious problems waiting longer. Nevertheless our teams of doctors and nurses work extremely hard to ensure that these times are kept to a minimum.’