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A&E waiting time figures show Ipswich and Colchester performing well but West Suffolk below average

PUBLISHED: 17:50 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 17:50 08 February 2018

Neill Moloney, managing director of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Neill Moloney, managing director of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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An Essex A&E that had the longest waiting times in the country just two-and-a-half years ago is now among the top performing, new figures have revealed.

West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: GREGG BROWN West Suffolk Hospital. Picture: GREGG BROWN

In September 2015, Colchester General Hospital dealt with just 77.3% of patients within four hours of arrival at its emergency room – the target is 95%.

Fresh statistics show in January this year the trust achieved 92.3%, making it the 15th best out of 139 acute hospitals in England under this barometer.

This is another welcome boost for the trust, which in 2017 was lifted out of special measures for the first time in four years.

The hospital has come on leaps and bounds since developing a partnership with Ipswich Hospital and bringing over members of its leadership team, including chief executive Nick Hulme.

The new NHS figures show Ipswich Hospital saw 90% of patients within four hours of arrival at A&E in January 2018.

The national average was 85.3%, which was the second worst month on record.

Neill Moloney, managing director of Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, said: “Keeping our promise to patients that they will be seen and treated within four hours in the emergency department at both hospitals is really important to us all.

“It is very pleasing to see that both our hospitals are doing well, however, our aim is to achieve 95% every day.

“I recognise the enormous amount of hard work that has gone into the figures released today and I would like to thank all our partners, staff and volunteers who have made this possible.”

West Suffolk Hospital dealt with 83.8% of A&E patients within four hours last month.

Helen Beck, chief operating officer, said the trust saw 6,032 attendances to its emergency department in January 2018, which was a rise of 12% compared to the same month last year.

She added: “Although we do everything we can to make sure that patients aren’t waiting any longer than is absolutely necessary, we do have to prioritise emergency department care for the patients who are the most unwell, which means that less immediately unwell patients sometimes do have to wait.”

Ms Beck urged the community to help lessen the load on the hospital by using other services when appropriate, such as pharmacies and the 111 NHS non-emergency helpline.

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