Wigan patients still waiting more than four hours in A&E

Wigan Infirmary's accident and emergency department
Wigan Infirmary's accident and emergency department

More than a quarter of patients are still waiting more than four hours to be treated at Wigan Infirmary’s A&E department.

The latest figures from NHS England reveal only 72 per cent of people were seen within the target time in February.

It shows the hospital remains under increasing pressure during the cold winter months, following performances of 73.1 per cent in December and 71.4 per cent in January.

Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust has repeatedly urged people to stay away from A&E in recent months unless necessary.

They have warned of waits of up to 12 hours to be seen and suggested seeking treatment elsewhere if possible.

Earlier this month, demand was so overwhelming that trust bosses even issued a plea to ask off-duty nurses to go in and help.

But the problem is not just a local issue, with hospitals across England seeing 76.9 per cent of patients within four hours last month.

The national standard is 95 per cent, but this has not been met in Wigan for some time.

The statistics show a total of 6,073 people attended the A&E unit in February, with 1,700 having to wait for more than four hours.

A further 610 patients went to the walk-in centre in Leigh and they were all seen within the target time.

There were 2,183 emergency admissions via A&E and 427 other admissions, the data reveals.

The new figures highlight the ongoing problems in the A&E department in Wigan.

In February last year, 8.7 per cent more people attended A&E - 6,605 in total - and staff saw 83.9 per cent of patients within four hours.

But fewer patients were admitted - 1,585 via A&E and 326 other admissions.

Hospital bosses have previously cited the increasing number of admissions, especially among people over the age of 75, as one of the reasons for increased waiting times.

More ambulance arrivals and rising handover times, longer stays in hospital for medical patients and problems with the rollout of a new IT system in December were also said to have contributed.

Hospital bosses have urged Wigners to only attend accident and emergency for urgent medical cases.

“The NHS 111 service for non-emergency medical help,” a spokesman said.

“It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is staffed by fully trained advisors and experienced clinicians.”