Hospital staff battle the winter demands of Welwyn Hatfield patients

PUBLISHED: 11:27 26 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:16 26 January 2017

Hospital trust chief executive Nick Carver.

Hospital trust chief executive Nick Carver.

Archant

Despite a severe surge in demand this winter, hospital staff have managed to cut casualty waiting times for Welwyn Hatfield patients.

Admissions were up 14.1 per cent year-on-year in November, and 13.9 per cent in December, with increased pressure persisting into this month.

But surprisingly, performance against the official four-hour casualty waiting time for the trust running both the New QEII Hospital in WGC and Stevenage’s Lister Hospital has improved since last winter.

Although December’s performance - 85.4 per cent - was worse than 89.4 per cent in November, it was 4.9 per cent better than in December 2015.

November’s performance was nearly 12 per cent better than in November 2015.

Chief executive Nick Carver said: “The trust’s hospitals have been very busy indeed, especially the Lister, but thanks to our staff, who have pulled together to ensure that high quality care continues to be provided, we are coping with the winter pressures facing the trust to date. On the face of it, therefore, the trust seems to be meeting this year’s winter pressures better than in the first few weeks of January 2016. In part this has been due to changes made across the Lister during the last year in how emergency patients are managed, as well as our contingency planning for winter pressures.

“However, the challenge facing the Lister, and especially its emergency department, remains considerable.

“For example, one of the major pressures has been the difficulty in discharging patients who are ready to leave hospital.

“We continue to work closely with our colleagues in social and community care on this aspect of the patient’s journey, as it is key to supporting good patient flow through the Lister.

“A second, and equally important area of focus, is working with our system partners to try to reduce the numbers of people attending A and E in the first place, by getting the message out that anyone with a non-life-threatening illness or injury should call NHS111 to be directed to the best place they should go for urgent medical advice and help.”


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