Hospital chiefs in Norwich have claimed successes in preventing bacterial infections and reducing waiting lists – but acknowledged much more work still needs to be done to meet NHS targets.

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The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s council of governors were given a progress report which included details of its commitment to treat 90pc of patients within 18 weeks, known as the Referral to Treatment (RTT) waiting time.

They were told that since last December, the number of people waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment had been reduced by more than half, from 1047 to 451.

But the N&N does not expect to meet the 90pc target for orthopaedic and trauma patients until February 2013.

The hospital has also narrowly failed to meet its target for discharging or admitting 95pc of accident and emergency patients within four hours, with the figure standing at 94.2pc for October and November.

Chief executive Anna Dugdale said the recent delays in hand-over times between ambulances and emergency beds was part of the same problem.

She said: “We had a significant struggle in October with the flow of people through the hospital, and the availability of beds at the right place has been part of the problem. The issue with ambulance hand-overs is symptomatic of the pressure on emergency care as a whole, and we are working to relieve that pressure on both the ambulance service and the emergency department.

“We have achieved our RTT contract commitment in terms of general surgery and urology, by bringing the waiting times down by the end of September, as agreed with NHS Norfolk. The number of people waiting in trauma and orthopaedics is reducing, perhaps not as much as we would like, but we are clearly making progress.”

The N&N has succeeded in reducing in hospital-acquired infections, with no cases of MRSA reported for eight months, and only two cases of clostridium difficile (C Diff) in the last two months.

Ms Dugdale said: “We have not had an MRSA case for eight months which is the longest period we have ever had. I think it is something we should be very proud of and it is a testament to the huge amount of work being done. It is good strong housekeeping and cleaning, and a real attention to detail from every single member of our nursing staff.”

David Prior, chairman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, described the hospital’s overall performance as “amber-green”.

He said: “We are amber because of the A&E issue. It is very busy outside the front of the hospital, and attendances at A&E are very high. All the targets are going in the right direction, but I would not want anyone leaving here thinking it is all easy. The hospital is still under a lot of pressure.”

The governors were told that the hospital is also meeting all eight of its nationally-set goals for cancer treatments, despite a large number of “query” diagnosis referred from GPs which had to be dealt with within 14 days as well as the confirmed cases.

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