Posted on June 09, 2016

Nottingham A&E under pressure from time-wasters

Health experts have said that Nottingham's A&E department is under pressure from time-wasters.

The worst waiting times in around ten years have just been recorded by the trust that runs the A&E department at Queen's Medical Centre. It is estimated that around a quarter of all arrivals at A&E have a wait of four hours or more. Medical staff at the hospital are urging patients to only go to A&E if they are seriously ill, and to look to other services for minor conditions.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Operating Officer Caroline Shaw said that it is better for people to stay away to prevent the spread of bugs such as norovirus when they could be seeking treatment elsewhere.

The official figures show that just 76% of patients who came to A&E between January and April this year were seen within four hours. The Government has set a target of 95%. The trust assesses its performance against 12 other hospitals, and Nottingham University Hospitals Trust had the worst performance.

The situation in Nottingham reflects the national situation. In March 2016, just four hospitals in England achieved the 95% target. In Nottingham, there has been an investment of £1 million to help to keep waiting times to a minimum. Thirty-eight additional beds have been opened in the area, but the trust is still struggling to cope with patient numbers.

Shaw said that the hospital has struggled due to a number of factors, one of these being an outbreak of norovirus at the hospital earlier in the year.

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