Doctor’s praise for Wigan A&E in difficult times

Dr Stephen Gulliford
Dr Stephen Gulliford

EMBATTLED staff at Wigan Infirmary “deserve all the credit” for keeping the A&E functioning under extreme pressures, an emergency doctor has said.

Dr Stephen Gulliford told the Evening Post the positive relationship between the Infirmary and the borough’s other health-care organisations has also been crucial.

A&E bosses have today re-issued a plea for residents to help out the under-pressure department by only visiting in extreme circumstances.

This comes as departments across the country struggle with a waiting times crisis.

Dr Gulliford said: “Here in Wigan we have been hitting our 95 per cent target (for waiting times) over the last few weeks under intense pressure.

“This has taken place at times when we have had 100 per cent capacity on patient beds and ambulance services delivering increasing numbers into the department.

“But we are still managing to deal with this influx, the staff deserve all the credit for their hard work and morale is still very high.”

Almost a dozen hospitals across the country have declared major incident status this week, including nearby Royal Bolton which was able to downgrade back to normal levels yesterday.

Hospitals are expected to ensure that 95 per cent of visitors to A&E are seen within four hours. NHS England this week said these performance targets had reached their lowest level for a decade.

Dr Gulliford said regular contact between Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) Foundation Trust managers with counterparts at the borough’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) and other health care organisations had helped them deal with the pressure.

He said: “We are keeping on top of things and we are proud we’ve not had to announce a major incident like other hospitals. I can’t comment on other areas but our dialogue with the CCG, social care workers and Five Boroughs mental health managers has ensured we have been able to discharge patients in a timely manner while ensuring their health and safety.

“One way residents can help is by exploring the other avenues of care before visiting A&E.

“Although we are under pressure, it is not like we can close the hospital for a few days to get on top of things.

“It is going to be a gradual process but we have been through it before and we’re confident we can do it again.

“The staff at the Trust have won a lot of awards in recent years and they’re working very hard.”