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See how well your hospital is performing in these charts

PUBLISHED: 08:52 27 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:52 27 March 2019

Ambulances queuing at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital A&E department. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY 2017

Ambulances queuing at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital A&E department. Picture: ANTONY KELLY 2017

Archant Norfolk 2017

We're always hearing our NHS is in a crisis, but how are our hospitals and ambulance service actually performing when it comes to emergency care? These charts give us some clues.

Officers were called to Watton Road at about 12.45pm today (April 1) to reports of a crash at the junction with Old Watton Road. Picture: Chris BishopOfficers were called to Watton Road at about 12.45pm today (April 1) to reports of a crash at the junction with Old Watton Road. Picture: Chris Bishop

•How quickly you get to hospital

East Anglia has long had a problem with ambulance response times, but this chart shows there have been some improvements in responding to the most urgent calls.

Ambulances aim to get to the most urgent calls, known as category one, within seven minutes. But in north Norfolk they got to those calls in an average time of 11 minutes in January.

For the less urgent calls, known as category two, the target is 18 minutes.

The ambulance service is not hitting that target anywhere in Norfolk.

•How long you have to wait in an ambulance at A&E

These figures show how many times ambulances are held up by more than 30 minutes as Norfolk’s three hospitals.

Long waits to handover patients when A&E is busy mean ambulances get held up and can not go off to the next job.

Ambulances lose thousands of hours a year waiting to handover but despite hospitals trying for years to address the problem figures are stubbornly high.

A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn said: “We are working closely with the ambulance service to implement plans which have resulted in improvements.

“For instance we have 50pc of patients handed over within 15 minutes of arrival between November 2018 and February 2019. For the same period in the previous year the figure was 15pc.”

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has worked on reducing ambulance handover delays. Picture: Chris BishopThe Queen Elizabeth Hospital has worked on reducing ambulance handover delays. Picture: Chris Bishop

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) said: “Since March 7, there has not been a single ambulance handover of more than an hour.

“We put in place a number of measures to increase capacity at our emergency department this winter.”

•How quickly you get seen at A&E

The James Paget Hospital is the best performing in Norfolk for A&E waiting times. Photo: Sonya DuncanThe James Paget Hospital is the best performing in Norfolk for A&E waiting times. Photo: Sonya Duncan

The two charts show how quickly patients get seen when they arrive at A&E over winter.

Hospitals are meant to either treat, admit or discharge 95pc of people coming into A&E within four hours.

But as these figures show performance fell off a cliff in winter 2015 and hospitals are now a long way off that target.

The second chart shows that since 2010, the number of patients not being seen within the target has soared by 1,400pc at NNUH, while the number of those attending has gone up by 32pc.

It means that only around 60pc of patients were seen within four hours this winter.

The hospital blamed the collapse on rising demand.

A spokesman said: “Our staff continue to do a phenomenal job when faced with the continued rise in emergency department attendances, ambulance arrivals and emergency admissions.

“In 2018, there were almost 140,000 emergency attendances, compared with just over 100,000 in 2012.”

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: MIKE PAGENorfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: MIKE PAGE

At the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston, 82pc of patients are seen within the target time, while at the QEH 78pc are.

There is pressure on the government to scrap the target as so few hospitals are meeting it.

James Paget’s chief operating officer Joanne Segasby said: “Our partners have developed or expanded services to prevent unnecessary A&E attendances, such as making additional GP appointments available and launching an ‘early intervention’ team to provide comprehensive support to patients in their own homes.

“This winter has, however, been an extremely challenging time but once again, our staff have gone above and beyond to care for patients while displaying exceptional teamwork.”

•How long you have to wait to get discharged

This is called ‘Delayed transfers of care’, better known as bed blocking.

It refers to patients who are well enough to leave the hospital but don’t because there is nowhere else for them to go. It means there are fewer beds free for those coming in who do need treatment.

As the biggest hospital in the region, the NNUH has more bed days lost to delays than anywhere else, according to NHS England figures.

Last year we reported that patients spent the equivalent of more than seven years waiting to be discharged from hospitals in Norfolk in just one month.

A new discharge suite was opened earlier this year at the NNUH to get patients home earlier in the day. The NNUH said it had made a big difference.

The QEH and James Paget said they worked with county councils to make sure patients got home.

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