Ipswich Hospital sees dip in A&E waiting time performance

Crawford Jamieson is Ipswich Hospital's medical director. Picture: WARREN PAGE/PAGEPIX

Crawford Jamieson is Ipswich Hospital's medical director. Picture: WARREN PAGE/PAGEPIX

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Health bosses say they are committed to improving four-hour A&E waiting times after a dip in performance at Ipswich Hospital in the run up to winter.

In September, 82.8% of patients were seen within four hours at the department but this reduced to 82.4% in November.

The average across both trusts in October was 84.3%.

However, East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs the hospital, has seen an overall rise in patients seen within this time scale.

Yet Colchester Hospital A&E department's figures have improved - in November, 89.6% of A&E patients at Colchester were seen within four hours.

Both hospitals achieved better than the national average of 81.4% in November, but their figures failed to meet the NHS target of 95%.

Dr Crawford Jamieson, medical director at ESNEFT, said: "We are committed to constantly achieving the four-hour national access standard in the emergency departments across ESNEFT. Every emergency department has its own challenges based on a number of individual factors.

"We remain committed to delivering this important standard, but we do have to acknowledge there is an increase in demand for emergency and urgent healthcare at this time of year."

West Suffolk Hospital's A&E department, operated by the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, has not published any recent four-hour performance data as it is one of 14 taking part in emergency standards access trials.

The hospital has held off publishing the statistics to make sure the trial's results accurately reflect how the scheme is working.

A spokeswoman for NHS England said A&E departments were providing care to a record-breaking number of people - at a time when norovirus and flu is having a greater impact on local services than last year. She said: "That's why it's more important than ever for the public to help NHS staff by getting flu jabs, following advice on the NHS website if they have norovirus, using the NHS 111 phone or online service for advice on urgent medical needs, and consulting their local pharmacist for advice on minor ailments."

Yesterday, the British Medical Association has warned the new Prime Minister to be realistic about the scale of NHS challenges, adding the money pledged to the service still falls short of what is needed.

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