A & E waiting times improve at King George and Queen’s hospitals

An east London hospital trust is no longer the worst in the country for waiting times in its A&E department.

NHS England statistics for July show that 51% of A&E patients attending Queen’s Hospital in Romford, and King George Hospital, Goodmayes, were dealt with in less than four hours.

This is a significant increase from February when only 32% of A&E patients were seen, treated and either admitted or discharged within four hours – the lowest score in England.

A statement by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals (BHRUT) – which runs both hospitals – said it now scores above 19 other English trusts and is no longer “at the bottom” of London’s A&E waiting time performance.

Chief executive Matthew Trainer said: “We know we still have a long way to go and that too many patients are still facing long waits.

“However, we absolutely should recognise this achievement and the hard work our teams have put in to get us here.”

Mr Trainer has credited the opening of Same Day Emergency Care departments at both hospitals with helping to cut waiting times.

However, four-hour waiting time performance for patients with less serious conditions at BHRUT hospitals remains the worst in the country.

In July, 70% of patients with less serious health needs attending the hospitals’ urgent treatment centres were dealt with in less than four hours.

This is a four percent improvement compared to June, but remains nine percent lower than the next worst-performing trust.

The centres – both rated inadequate by the Care Quality Commission last year – assess the health needs of any patient walking into the hospital and provide treatment for less serious conditions.

They are run by a separate subcontracted “GP cooperative” called PELC.

Mr Trainer, who has no direct control over PELC, said his hospitals are “working closely” with it to speed up how quickly patients are assessed, so those with more serious conditions can be sent to A&E.

Margaret Mullane, Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Dagenham and Rainham, called for an “urgent review” PELC’s contract.

She added: “It is good to see that the performance for A&E services being provided by the NHS at BHRUT are improving, this is in stark contrast with the privatised Urgent Treatment Centres at King George and Queens Hospitals.

“The evidence of the failure of this privatisation is clear.

“When I met with senior managers at Queen’s recently their exasperation with the situation was clear.

“The problems start with the lack of GPs in the community, across Redbridge and Havering on average each GP has 2,074 patients whereas the English average is just 1,700.

“This directly leads to more people turning up at hospital.”

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter