Emergency hospital visits in Wigan rise to buck national trend

Wigan’s A&E units saw a rise in the number of people attending last month, bucking the national trend during the coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 13th April 2020, 8:24 am
Updated Monday, 13th April 2020, 8:28 am

A total of 1.53m attendances in England were recorded in March, a 29 per cent drop on the 2.17m attendances in March 2019.

The number was the lowest for any calendar month since current records began in August 2010.

NHS England, which published the figures, said the fall was “likely to be a result of the Covid-19 response” – an indication that people were staying away from A&E departments because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary's A&E department

But the data showed a slight increase in the number of people attending Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department and Leigh Walk-In Centre, which are run by Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.

They had a total of 8,684 attendances last month, rising by 4.2 per cent from 8,333 attendances in March last year.

While there was a drop in the number of people going to A&E – from 7,521 to 5,634 – there was a rise in those seeking help at the walk-in centre, from 812 to 3,050.

Despite more people going to the A&E departments, the data shows an improvement in the proportion of patients seen within four hours.

The trust saw 85.9 per cent of people within the target time, rising from 80.5 per cent in February and 78.5 per cent in March 2019. It was also above the national performance of 84.2 per cent.

At Wigan Infirmary’s A&E unit alone, 78.5 per cent of patients were admitted, transferred or discharged in four hours, up from 68.4 per cent in February and 76.2 per cent in March 2019.

Nearly all patients – 99.6 per cent – at Leigh walk-in centre were seen on time.

Nationally, emergency admissions to A&E departments showed a sharp fall in March compared to the same month last year, down 23 per cent from 555,457 to 427,921.

This was mirrored in Wigan, where there was a 24.5 per cent drop from 2,898 to 2,187.

Within the trust, a total of 381 patients had to wait more than four hours for a bed, after medical staff decided they should be admitted, and eight had to wait more than 12 hours.

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