Drop in patient numbers at Wigan's busy A&E departments

Fewer patients visited Wigan borough’s casualty departments last month – and attendances were lower than over the same period last year, figures reveal.
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Attendances have been high in recent months at centres run by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, putting more strain on staff and services trying to tackle the back-log of patients caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

New NHS England figures show 12,519 patients sought emergency care in August – 7,640 at Wigan Infirmary’s A&E unit and 4,879 at Leigh Walk-In Centre.

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That was a drop of eight per cent on the 13,605 visits during July and three per cent lower than the 12,890 patients seen in August 2021.

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The figures show attendances were still above the levels seen two years ago – in August 2020, there were 10,906 visits to the A&E departments.

Seventy per cent of patients were seen within the four-hour target across the trust, compared to 70.9 per cent in July.

This fell to 51.2 per cent for just the A&E department – down from 52.8 per cent in July – while 99.5 per cent were seen in four hours at the walk-in centre.

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Across England, 71.4 per cent were seen on time – the second-worst performance on record. The operational standard is that at least 95 per cent of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours, but this has not been met nationally since 2015.

A total of 1,165 patients – nine per cent – waited longer than four hours for treatment in the borough’s hospitals following a decision to admit. Of those, 168 were delayed by more than 12 hours.

Across England, A&E departments received 1,988,779 visits last month. That was a decrease of eight per cent compared to July and the same number as were seen during August 2021.

A total of 28,756 people waited more than 12 hours after the decision to admit in August, down from a record 29,317 in July but still the second highest number reported for any calendar month in records going back to August 2010.

The number waiting at least four hours from the decision to admit to admission stood at 130,528 in August, down from 136,221 the previous month.