Big improvement in A&E waiting times for Wigan patients

Wigan and Leigh Infirmary
Wigan and Leigh Infirmary

Wigan Infirmary’s A&E unit saw a dramatic improvement in the number of patients seen within four hours, new figures have revealed.

NHS England data shows Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust treated 94.3 per cent of patients within the target time in May.

A total of 93.7 per cent of people were seen by the A&E department in that time, with the higher figure including Leigh’s walk-in centre.

Across England, 90.4 per cent of patients were seen in four hours in May.

The statistics for May were the highest the trust has seen for some time and bring it close to the 95 per cent national standard, which it has not met since 2015.

It was a major improvement from the trust’s performance of 73.6 per cent in April and 63.7 per cent in March, which was the lowest score in England that month.

The trust - like others across the country - struggled as winter pressures did not ease in the spring.

More patients being admitted to the hospital, especially those over the age of 75, has previously been cited as one of the reasons for increased waiting times.

The improved performance comes after steps by the trust to tackle the problem, including last year turning Christopher Home into a primary care centre to treat some patients.

But it also came during a month when around 900 estates and facilities staff went on strike for two days to protest against a planned transfer of their jobs to subsidiary firm WWL Solutions, with employees drafted in from elsewhere.

A trust spokesman said: “Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust is extremely pleased to have seen such an improvement in our A&E performance for May.

“To reach 93.7 per cent is a massive achievement and is due to the hard work and commitment of our staff, not just in the A&E department but across the organisation as a whole.

“We hope that by continuing to work with our partners within the Wigan urgent and emergency care system, our A&E performance will remain consistently high by ensuring that our patients are treated in the most appropriate setting.

“And with the introduction of the primary care and minor injuries unit, we continue to deflect patients from A&E who require treatment for minor illnesses and injuries.

“Whilst we have been experiencing recent good weather, we have not seen a drop in the number of attendances to our accident and emergency department over this period.”

The figures, which were published by NHS England yesterday, show 7,439 people went to Wigan’s A&E department in May, with 6,972 seen within four hours.

A further 748 people went to the walk-in centre in Leigh, with just two having to wait for longer than expected.

Hospital bosses have repeatedly urged people to seek treatment from sources other than A&E in recent months if possible, with the walk-in centre identified as one option.

There were 2,693 emergency admissions via A&E and 536 from other sources during May.

A total of 145 people had to wait more than four hours to be admitted after the decision to admit was made, but no-one waited for more than 12 hours, according to the data.