Lengthy Wigan A&E waits revealed

More than a quarter of patients had to wait for more than four hours to be seen in Wigan's A&E department, new figures reveal.

Monday, 22nd January 2018, 11:11 am
Updated Monday, 22nd January 2018, 12:25 pm
Wigan Infirmary accident and emergency department

The significant pressures faced over the winter period were already known, with bosses at Wigan Infirmary warning of 12-hour waits.

But the new data lays out the overall impact on waiting times, with only 73.08 per cent of patients seen in four hours in November and 73.17 per cent in December.

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The national standard is 95 per cent, but Wigan has long failed to meet it. The performance in October was 84.61 per cent.

More than a third of patients - 34.11 per cent - had to wait more than 30 minutes to be handed over to hospital staff when they arrived at A&E by ambulance.

The NHS has faced a lot of pressure nationally in recent weeks, including Wigan A&E.

Although the number of patients has not increased, the unit is seeing more people over the age of 75 and patients needing more care.

There have been a high number of respiratory and flu patients, leading to more admissions, and more patients have arrived by ambulance.

Andrew Foster, chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, told the Post last month that the roll-out of a new IT system had also caused delays.

It reverted to the old system on January 10.

People have been advised to seek treatment elsewhere if possible.

The new figures show a better performance at Leigh walk-in centre, where 98.51 per cent of people were seen in four hours in November and 95.8 per cent in December.

However, earlier this month bosses at the walk-in centre apologised after people reported waiting for seven hours to be seen there.

Patients needing an ambulance faced longer waits in November. The mean response time for emergency “category one” calls was nine minutes 44 seconds, below the seven minute target, and 30 minutes 34 seconds for “category two” calls, with a target of 18 minutes.

Wigan health chiefs say staff are looking hard to reduce waiting times. Dr Tim Dalton, chairman of Wigan’s clinical commissioning group, said: “A lot of people are working very hard to make sure that patients get seen as quickly as possible, prioritising those most in need.

"We have GPs at the hospital seven days a week for 15 hours a day seeing patients who choose to attend A&E, but don’t need A&E’s specialist care.

"We are working closely as a whole system to make sure patients are discharged from hospital as soon as they are medically fit so there are beds for new patients arriving.

"This takes a lot of co-ordination and support from social services, community and mental health services, GPs, the hospital and voluntary organisations.

"I am pleased to say that we are one of the best performing areas in the country for this.

“I would like to thank all the staff for their continued commitment to helping patients.”