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NHS trusts in Ipswich, Colchester and West Suffolk miss accident and emergency targets

PUBLISHED: 10:55 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:56 18 October 2017

Ipswich Hospital (stock image). Picture: PHIL MORELY

Ipswich Hospital (stock image). Picture: PHIL MORELY

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NHS Hospital trusts in Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester have failed to achieve their targets for admitting and treating accident and emergency patients.

Figures revealed through the BBC’s NHS Tracker project show the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust and West Suffolk NHS Trust have both failed to meet their four hour A&E waiting targets as has the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Hospital Trusts were set a target of admitting or treating 95% of patients within a four-hour time scale.

Ipswich Hospital admitted or treated 91.1% of patients within the time frame and West Suffolk NHS Trust treated 88.9%.

Colchester Hospital admitted or treated 87% of patients within 4 hours.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: “Seeing everyone who comes to emergency department within four hours is a very important promise that we, the NHS and in particular this hospital, makes to patients.

“We are clearly very sorry that we did not achieve this target.

“Our latest figures show that we are making significant improvements and we are doing everything we can to make sure no-one waits any longer than is absolutely necessary.

“One of the important things for us is that we have to work together with all of our partners in healthcare.

“We also need to work with our communities because if people come to the A&E department for anything and everything it means people wait longer.

“People could help us by thinking do I really need to come to A&E or could I see my GP, pharmacist or call 111 for support.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of people who need complex emergency and urgent care.

“Our clinicians are skilled in treating people who need this level of care so if people could help us that would be hugely appreciated.”

The figures showed Colchester Hospital University Trust had not met its A&E, cancer care or planned operations and care targets.

Nick Hulme join chief executive of Ipswich Hospital and Colchester Hospital University NHS Trusts, added: “It is very disappointing and I would like to apologise to the public that we are not achieving the commitments we made around the promises in accident and emergency, planned care and cancer.”

Helen Beck, interim chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We work exceptionally hard to meet our national standards, and it’s clearly disappointing on the occasions we don’t achieve them.

“Though timely access to treatment is very important, there are other indicators that also demonstrate the quality of care provided to patients, like the number of people recommending our hospital as a place to receive treatment, in which we consistently perform well.

“We are delighted to have met the national cancer standard, as we know it’s vitally important that patients referred for cancer care start their treatment as quickly as possible.

“We’re exceptionally proud that our scores are higher than the national average, and that we’ve also regularly had some of the best early detection rates in the country.

She added: “However we are not complacent, and there is clearly more to do.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t meet the national A&E standard in September (88.9%), particularly after achieving it for the first quarter of the year, but the national average (89.7%) shows we are not the only ones tackling this challenge.

“We will continue to do everything we can to make sure that patients aren’t waiting any longer than absolutely necessary.

“Whilst our referral to treatment (RTT) waiting times still aren’t where we’d like them to be, we have made significant improvements; in July this year we had the most improved monthly RTT performance in the country, and we have continued to make progress since – a trend that we hope will continue.

“We are working with our healthcare partners as a whole system to ensure patients have access to the right care they need, at the right time, but are also asking communities to choose wisely if they need to access the NHS. Most of the people we see in our emergency department a lot of time to make sure they are treated well, so for non life-threatening conditions we ask people to help our doctors and nurses by making a pharmacy, or NHS 111, their first choice for help and advice.”

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