QE2 Hospital ‘will lose out on £1m winter funding’ after Government shake-up claim
PUBLISHED: 17:55 10 October 2013 | UPDATED: 17:55 10 October 2013
Bosses responsible for the QE2 Hospital in Welwyn Garden City fear they could lose at least £1million in Government funding over the winter – because staff are performing too well.
Although casualty waits have increased nationally over the past three years, the trust that runs the QE2 and Stevenage’s Lister Hospital says more than 96 per cent of emergency patients are seen within four hours of arrival.
In August, 96.4 per cent were seen within the four-hour target time.
But a spokesman warned Government cash would now be used to support hospitals which did not perform as well.
Special winter funding – at least £1 million a year – which has been used in previous years for extra beds and improved community care will not be available.
Peter Gibson, spokesman for the East and North Herts NHS Trust, explained: “This year, a different path has been followed with this centrally-provided funding being used to support the 50 or so hospital groups across the country which have struggled to deliver the 95 per cent standard in the first half of the year.
“At a time of greatest pressure, therefore, the trust will face considerable challenges maintaining its performance over the next six months.
“The trust has experienced very good accident and emergency performance over the last couple of years or so, but the next six months in particular are going to be very challenging, especially if it proves to be a long hard winter and rates of infections such as norovirus and flu rise.”
However, a new £19m emergency department at the Lister, which now takes about 80 per cent of urgent cases, including most blue light ambulance patients, will be completed this month.
Mr Gibson said: “That will help to stream those with major and minor injuries and illnesses more effectively than ever before, and will house a much expanded children’s emergency unit, as well as the local GP out-of-hours service.”
The trust could not provide separate figures for the performance of the QE2, and said the winter problems would affect both hospitals equally.
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