Hospital is finally getting nearer to A&E waiting time target, says chief executive
- Credit: IAN BURT
A hospital which has failed to meet its accident and emergency (A&E) waiting time target for the past year has nearly reached its goal – despite a busier than expected winter.
Dr Manjit Obhrai, chief executive at the King's Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), said the amount of care nurses in A&E had to provide had been 'far in excess of what we'd normally expect at this time of year'.
Yet despite the huge pressure, 94.6pc of patients were seen within four hours. The target is 95pc.
Dr Obhrai, who was brought in to help turn around the Gayton Road hospital after it was put in 'special measures' following a highly-critical inspection, said 'significant progress' has been made – but that there were still challenging areas.
He revealed that although the overall number of people treated at A&E was 'probably smaller', the number of seriously ill patients with higher needs rose. That meant nurses had to deal with a more demanding workload – but changes made to procedures meant it got closer to the goal.
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Those changes included appointing a person to do 'bed rounds' to make sure patients were being discharged in a timely fashion. 'We don't want to spend all day discharging patients,' Dr Obhrai said. 'We want a significant number leaving before 11am each day.' His aim is that between 30pc and 40pc of patients will be discharged before that time.
He added that 28 extra 'virtual beds' in the community would help relieve pressure on A&E. £1.6m allocated by the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is being spent on increasing the number of cubicles in the department, creating room for nine extra patients.
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Some of that money is also set aside to pay for extra A&E doctors - yet although the QEH has met its nursing goals having previously been under-staffed, recruiting specialist consultants to A&E has been harder.
It has recruited three locum doctors – who work in place of a regular doctor when a hospital is short-staffed – but is still looking for people more permanently.
How do you rate the care at the QEH? Write, giving your full contact details, to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk