Hospital must work hard to stop waiting times rising

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We’ve already reported at length on the increased demand that has led to casualty at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham being overwhelmed.

So the news that QA waiting times over the winter were among the worst in the south is not exactly a surprise.

Still, it is alarming that the hospital has fallen so far short of the performance of others when rated on how long patients spend in A&E.

On average, 77 per cent of people were seen at the Cosham hospital within four hours between November 3 and Tuesday. That means almost one in four patients had to wait even longer than that from admission to discharge.

The total across all Portsmouth NHS Trust sites was only marginally better at 79 per cent – and in February, the figure at the QA was as low as 65 per cent.

This compares unfavourably with hospitals in Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset that were all close to the target of 95 per cent, while 81 per cent of patients at Southampton General were seen within four hours.

It all paints a picture of the QA struggling to cope with the sheer volume of patients – something underlined last week when we revealed how cancellation of operations at the hospital jumped from 588 in 2012 to 1,096 in 2014.

We said then that the hospital bosses mustn’t just throw up their hands and blame the situation on resource shortfalls or an influx of people requiring treatment.

So it is pleasing to see the QA has posted much better casualty figures in the past week, with 92 per cent of people being seen within four hours.

Staff have clearly worked hard to improve matters and deserve praise for their efforts.

The task now is to make sure waiting times don’t rise again.