County meets A&E targets despite dip at Christmas

Wansbeck General Hospital.

Wansbeck General Hospital.

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Northumberland A&E departments have hit national targets for waiting times over the last three months, but the Christmas period saw a dip in figures due to ‘unprecedented demands’.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust met the Government targets of patients being seen, treated, discharged or admitted within four hours, between October and December with 94.8 per cent of dealt with across its A&E departments and 95.4 per cent success including minor injuries units.

But for the festive period this was not the case.

To the week ending December 21 89.8 per cent of patients were dealt with at A&E within four hours (91.1 per cent including minor injuries) and to the week ending December 28 it was 90.2 per cent (91.4 per cent including minor injuries).

A spokeswoman for the Trust said: “Despite extremely high numbers of people attending A&E, we are pleased that we have met the national four-hour target for the last quarter.

“This is testament to the commitment and dedication of our staff who have worked extremely hard to treat patients as quickly as possible and we would like to thank every one of them for their tireless efforts.

“In the wake of intense pressures, our teams have cared for people with the utmost professionalism and been a credit to our organisation and the NHS.

“While our performance has dipped over the Christmas break due to the high volumes of people attending the department, we continue to strive to provide safe and high quality care at all times and treat patients as quickly as possible.

“Like the rest of the country, we continue to see very high numbers of people attending our A&E departments and we would urge people only to come in if they have a serious health emergency.

“Please seek guidance from your GP or NHS 111 if your condition is not life-threatening or serious rather than visiting A&E and facing a long wait because clinicians are dealing with medical emergencies first.”