More local residents attend A&E than ever before

Date published: 19 July 2019

More local residents attended accident and emergency departments last year than ever before as hospitals face increasing pressure and demand on services.

One patient required urgent care across the Pennine Acute NHS Trust every 80 seconds on average.

The trust, which operates four hospital sites including Fairfield General Hospital, The Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General was faced with 394,473 visits to its emergency departments in the last financial year.

The trust also operates Rochdale Infirmary which does not have an A&E department.

Programme manager Vee Morris reported the figures to councillors from Bury, Oldham and Rochdale on Thursday (18 July).

She said: “Staff have worked incredibly hard to make sure that patients are triaged and sent to the right place quickly.”

However, around 15 per cent of patients needing urgent care were not treated within four hours meaning national standards were not achieved.

There are nearly 400 fewer patients waiting on lists compared to last year – and more than a thousand fewer across the trust – but the trust is still falling short of targets.

National referral targets state that 92 per cent of patients should wait for no longer than 18 weeks to be treated.

However, the proportion of patients seen by Pennine Acute Trust hospitals within 18 weeks was only 85.7 per cent.

The trust also failed to treat a quarter of cancer patients within 62 days and only treated 77.8 per cent of patients who were suspected of having cancer within two weeks.

Since February of this year, the four hospitals have passed the 93 per cent national standard for the two-week pathway every month.

It has also gradually improved against the 62-day standard since last year.

A cancer improvement board is now in place at the trust with the aim of improving the services provided to patients with and suspected to have cancer.

Pennine Acute NHS Trust is working to improve outpatient services so that patients can be seen faster.

This will be done by reducing the need for patients to attend hospital clinics and ensuring that clinics are run more efficiently.

The trust is also continuing to work to see patients needing an operation sooner by increasing operating theatre capacity through better efficiency.

This increased demand comes as budgets are stretched and hospitals face a deficit nationally of £531m.

Pennine Acute NHS Trust must make savings of £19.7m this year.

Nicola Tamanis is deputy chief finance officer of Northern Care Alliance which oversees Pennine Acute NHS Trust.

She said: “There’s a real need across the NHS for significant investment. There’s a significant requirement for capital investment. The amount of capital that the NHS is investing is significantly lower than other European countries.”

There was a total capital investment of £3.9bn into the NHS last year.

An additional £20.6bn will be invested by 2023/24 as part of a five-year funding settlement announced last June.

Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter

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