A&E figures and ambulance response times in Suffolk and north Essex improved in January after the previous month saw the worst performance on record.

Figures from NHS England showed that average ambulance response times to the most serious, category one, incidents in January in the East of England were nine minutes and 13 seconds, compared to 11 minutes, 54 seconds in December.

In January, 6,291 patients waited in A&E for four hours or more at hospitals run by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which includes Ipswich and Colchester, while 72.8% of arrivals were seen within four hours.

East Anglian Daily Times: A&E waits have improved at Ipswich HospitalA&E waits have improved at Ipswich Hospital (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

This was better than the national average of 72.4% and an improvement on December when 9,324 waited for more than four hours, with 66% being seen within this time frame.

The number of patients waiting 12 hours or more was also down- 351 compared with 356 in December.

Meanwhile, at West Suffolk Hospital, 858 patients waited four hours or more, compared to 1,125 in December, while 12 hour waits were experienced by 405 patients in January, compared to 606 in December.

East Anglian Daily Times: Neill Moloney, deputy chief executive of ESNEFTNeill Moloney, deputy chief executive of ESNEFT (Image: Archant)

ESNEFT deputy chief executive Neill Moloney said: "We have created escalation areas with extra beds at both hospitals to help us care for additional patients and continue to work closely with health and social care teams to make sure we can treat and admit or discharge people as quickly as possible."

Matthew Keeling, deputy chief operating officer at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “Throughout January we saw less daily emergency attendances and admissions compared to December.

"This meant that despite the operational challenges we continued to face, we could focus on discharging those patients that were ready to go home and on reducing the time our patients spent in the emergency department.

“I want to thank all my colleagues in the acute and community settings for their tireless work to establish and uphold the robust processes required to make this happen."