COMMENT: QA waiting times need to be brought under control

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It’s disheartening to learn that hundreds of patients who attended the A&E department at Queen Alexandra Hospital have ‘given up’ waiting and left.

Figures from NHS Digital have revealed that at least 1,605 patients were recorded as having left the Cosham emergency department without being seen by medical staff in the 12 months until May this year.

This is just the latest setback to hit the hospital about waiting times and patients being stranded in ambulances waiting to be seen for treatment.

No-one can honestly say these problems are down to the doctors and nurses who are there to treat patients.

It seems to be the sheer numbers of people that descend on the department.

The hospital itself has admitted that the situation is not good enough and in fact the government has recognised there is a problem by announcing a £60m cash injection to build a new A&E which is hoped will help the hospital overcome its struggles with long queues and those waiting to be unloaded from ambulances.

QA has vowed to improve its A&E waiting times with divisional director of medicine and urgent care at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Lesley Bishop, saying: ‘All patients are assessed and prioritised according to their condition, but this has led to some patients experiencing longer waiting times than we would like, on occasion.’

The hospital says it is working with health partners to improve GP appointments and making best use of St Mary’s Hospital urgent Care Centre and the minor injuries units at both Petersfield Community Hospital and Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

There then is the issue of whether those turning up at A&E really need to be there in the first place.

What is known is that at more than four patients a day on average getting fed up and leaving without being assessed by medical professionals, something needs to be done, and fast.