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Pressure no excuse to not hit care deadline
DOCTORS and nurses must be ‘disciplined’ enough to treat every emergency patient within four hours even when a sickness bug heaps pressure on our hospitals says an NHS chief.
Hospital staff are supposed to see, treat, discharge or transfer at least 95 per cent of patients within at least four hours of them coming to A&E at Worcester or Redditch.
However, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals has struggled to hit the target because of winter diarrhoea and vomiting bug norovirus which closed 160 beds during an outbreak in November, meaning patients have to wait longer to be treated.
Norovirus continues to have an impact with Laurel 2 and Avon stroke unit closed to visitors at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester and Ward 11 at the Alexandra Hospital closed to visitors on Friday. The trust has now missed the target in December (91.75 per cent) and November (94.32 per cent) which means they are set to fail the target for 2012/13 with a figure of 93.52 per cent so far. The trust hit the target in July, August, September and October last year.
Pressures on the system were discussed at the first meeting of the bosses of South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) at Pershore Civic Centre. The group of GPs and managers decides how money is spent in Worcester, Pershore, Evesham, Droitwich and Tenbury.
Dr Carl Ellson, clinical executive lead for the CCG, said of the A&E situation: “We can’t continue. We feel like we’re firefighting all the time. We need a more robust system in place really.”
However, he said about 70 per cent of hospital trusts at any given time were failing the waiting time target.
He said: “We have to be at 95 per cent (for the four- hour target) all the time, if not 100 per cent. We need to think of every failure as a significant event. There does become a time, as in life, when the pressure is off and you get a bit complacent and you’re not ready. It’s about instilling in staff the discipline – they have to be on top of this all the time.”
David Mehaffey, head of strategy, said people coming to A&E were not people with ‘splinters in fingers’ but had significant health needs. He said it was a problem for the whole health and social care economy.