PATIENTS are spending more time at Wigan Infirmary’s Accident and Emergency department than in most other parts of the country.
Health data shows that the average waiting time in Wigan’s A&E is two hours and 32 minutes - 17 minutes longer than the average national waiting time of two hours 15 minutes.
The data was collected in the same month that the NHS 111 helpline was launched – and which was blamed for an increase in A&E admissions nationally.
There is no guideline for waiting and being treated but the national government A&E waiting time target is four hours.
A spokesperson for Wrightington Wigan Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) said: “Like other Trusts across the country we experienced an unprecedented rise in A&E attendances in the early part of the year.
“However, WWL was able to improve its performance considerably, achieving 97.7 per cent of patients seen within four hours, which exceeds the 95 per cent target.
“This placed WWL as one of the highest performing Trust in the North West region. In March and April, when the data was collected, we saw an increase in high attendances and low discharges. This was attributed to the severity of the conditions of the patients who presented at A&E, coupled with the number of very poorly patients being cared for within the hospital wards. The Trust’s first and foremost duty is to provide quality care to acutely ill patients.”
Across Greater Manchester, patients at five out of eight hospital trusts are spending at least 10 minutes longer in A&E than the national average.
Dr Kailash Chand, the deputy chairman of the British Medical Association and the new chairman of Healthwatch Tameside, said: “This is totally unacceptable and we will need to look into it. There is no doubt that the NHS is under intense pressure. Spending on healthcare is squeezed, patient demand is rising and staffing levels are often inadequate.
“The Government’s analysis of where responsibility lies for the huge and increasing pressure on emergency care is completely simplistic.
“GPs are undertaking increasing numbers of GP consultations and hospitals are facing similar levels of high demand that is only likely to rise in the years to come.”