A&E waits increase as more patients are admitted

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary

More A&E patients being admitted to Wigan Infirmary for treatment has led to increased waiting times, according to a health chief.

New figures showed the number of people being seen within the four-hour target in Wigan’s A&E dropped again.

Staff saw 82.89 per cent of patients in that time in August, falling from 85.72 per cent June and 89.43 per cent in July.

That was again below the national benchmark of 95 per cent and thresholds agreed with NHS Improvement of 90 per cent for quarter one and 91.5 per cent for quarter two.

The unit has failed to meet the national target for some time but had seen improvements in previous months.

Dr Tim Dalton, a GP and chairman of NHS Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Wigan urgent and emergency care system works together to provide the best possible care in a timely manner.

“Although total numbers of attendances to A&E haven’t significantly increased over the last year, the acute trust has seen a five per cent increase in the number of people who attend A&E and received care by being admitted.

“To put this into context, in recent weeks an additional 16 acute beds are in use every day for emergency admissions when compared with the previous years.”

Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has taken several steps in recent months to address this.

Dr Dalton said: “Wigan’s urgent and emergency care system is working together on a number of national priorities including additional workforce capacity in A&E, which is sourced through winter funding. Wigan has introduced streaming at the front door of A&E to manage demand and has invested in primary care to offer alternatives for the public to avoid attending the A&E department.

“We are however expecting the pressures in A&E to remain high for the next few weeks. I would ask people who do become poorly, could they consider using other places to access care such as their GP surgery, NHS 111, their local pharmacy or walk-in centre?”

He also urged people eligible for a flu jab to book an appointment with the GP surgery so they stay well.