Queen’s Hospital admits A&E waiting times ‘not good enough’

More than half of patients with serious emergencies wait more than four hours at Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

According to the NHS, almost all A&E patients should be either treated and discharged or admitted to hospital within four hours of arriving.

At the hospital’s “type one” A&E, which treats major emergencies rather than specialist or minor problems, around 56 per cent of patients waited more than four hours in August.

The hospital is run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which has admitted the figures are “not good enough”.

The trust’s chief medical officer Dr Magda Smith said the trust has been under “extreme pressure” due to Covid-19, despite the fact the numbers were worse before the pandemic began.

Over 60 per cent of patients waited more than four hours in December last year and January and February of this year, with wait times actually falling during lockdown.

Dr Smith said: “We know that these performance figures are not good enough and we should be doing better for our patients.

“We have a clinically-led recovery plan in place to improve our performance, ensuring we make the best use of our resources to meet demand.

“We’ve opened a same day emergency care service at Queen’s Hospital, treating more complex patients on the same day rather than needing to admit them and we’re working very closely with our community healthcare colleagues to ensure that the most appropriate care is in place for patients who need urgent and emergency treatment.”

The trust has also put in place measures to reduce the risk of infection to A&E patients, such as separating “Covid and non-Covid areas”.

Dr Smith added: “The complexities of this, including dividing our workforce, can lead to delays, especially when faced with other challenges.

“While Emergency Department attendances were down during lockdown, they are now increasing, and the patients we are seeing are much more unwell, which also takes longer.”

In September, the trust apologised after three people caught coronavirus from another patient in King George Hospital in Ilford.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter