A&E waiting times at Romford and Ilford hospitals worse despite drop in patients

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A&E wait times at King George Hospital and Queen’s Hospital were worse last month than the year before, despite the number of patients dropping sharply.

Only around three quarters of patients at the two hospitals in Ilford and Romford were seen within four hours, NHS figures show.

This is a worse result than April last year, when eight out of ten people were seen within four hours, despite the number of patients dropping by more than half.

The chief operating officer of the two hospitals’ NHS trust Shelagh Smith said the trust accepted this is “not good enough”.

He said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we, along with the entire NHS, have been under extreme pressure. 

“However, we accept that these performance figures are not good enough and we should be doing better for our patients.

“We already have a plan in place to make improvements which will help us reach 90 per cent of all A&E patients seen within four hours by September. 

“One of the ways we will be doing this is by implementing, ‘same day emergency care’. 

“This aims to treat more complex patients on the same day in our Ambulatory Care Unit, rather than them needing to be admitted to our hospitals.”

However, Blackwater Law specialist Jason Brady was keen to emphasise that any delay in diagnosis or treatment could lead to unnecessary injuries, symptoms or even “less of life”.

He said the problem could only get worse once lockdown is eased and A&E attendances increase. 

He said: “I am concerned as to the ability of A&E departments to cope with the increase in demand on their services and the timeliness of care that will be provided. 

“These services should continue to be resourced as much as possible alongside the trust’s response to the coronavirus situation.

“NHS Trust management clearly have an extremely difficult task at the moment, but accident & emergency departments provide an important service and should receive the resources they need as much as possible to deal with patients in a timely fashion.”

Today, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages both hospitals, reported no new deaths from coronavirus.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter