A&E waiting times in Wigan are increasing

Ambulances at Wigan Infirmary A&E
Ambulances at Wigan Infirmary A&E

More patients are facing long waits to be seen at Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department – despite action to cut waiting times.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) had one of the worst-performing A&Es in the country earlier this year and had struggled to see the desired number of patients within four hours for some time before that.

Other news: Heavy rush hour congestion after Wigan road smash

But its performance rallied over the summer, peaking in June when 94.8 per cent of patients were seen in the required time - just short of the 95 per cent target set by the Government.

However, fewer people have been seen in four hours in recent months and new data shows its performance dropped in October.

Just 82.2 per cent of patients were seen on time at the A&E unit, compared to 83.2 per cent across England.

For the trust as a whole, which includes Leigh walk-in centre, its performance was 83.7 per cent, compared to 89.1 per cent nationally.

The data from NHS England shows 7,786 people attended A&E and the walk-in centre in October.

There were 2,862 emergency admissions, with 2,451 of those via the A&E unit.

All of the 672 people attending the walk-in centre were seen within four hours.

The Wigan Post contacted the trust about the new figures, but it did not respond to a request for a comment.

The rising waiting times come ahead of the winter, which is traditionally the busiest time of year for emergency departments.

Trust bosses have previously told the Post about a host of measures being taken to reduce waiting times.

These included 10 new step-up beds, efforts to reduce bed-blocking, a clinical liaison officer to help to manage the flow of patients in A&E and reverse queuing.

Patients who do not need emergency care have been sent to the primary care centre at Christopher Home instead, freeing up A&E staff.

But plans to upgrade it to an urgent treatment centre two weeks ago were postponed.

Health bosses have urged people to consider the best place to seek treatment, especially during the busy winter months.

North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has shared an animation on its website to help people decide when to visit a walk-in centre.

The trust provides services in Wigan and while it does not run Leigh walk-in centre, it has other centres in the region.

People are encouraged to consider whether they could care for themselves at home, call NHS 111, visit a pharmacy, see their GP or go to a walk-in centre.

Louise Johnston, head of service ambulatory and urgent care, said: “With the festive season fast approaching, it’s really important to choose the right health service this winter that can best support you and your family. You can help yourself to stay well by keeping warm, having your flu jab if eligible, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids.”