Colchester Hospital continues to hit A&E waiting target as Ipswich and West Suffolk fall short

Colchester and Ipswich hospitals boss Nick Hulme has praised staff. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Colchester and Ipswich hospitals boss Nick Hulme has praised staff. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

The boss of Colchester Hospital has paid tribute to the dedication of his staff as new figures show the trust has hit the national A&E waiting time target for the second consecutive month – bucking national trends.

Colchester and Ipswich hospitals chairman David White says demand is increasing. Picture: PAGEPIX

Colchester and Ipswich hospitals chairman David White says demand is increasing. Picture: PAGEPIX - Credit: Archant

Lifted out of special measures just six months ago, the hospital achieved the NHS standard of seeing 95% of patients within four hours of arrival in the emergency department for the first since records began in March.

Latest statistics for April show the trust has hit it again, while the national average sits at 88.5%.

The hospital’s chief executive Nick Hulme said: “Real credit must go to everyone who has worked towards this. There are no more beds, nor staff, but what’s changed is colleagues are collectively very focussed on what’s important and valuing people’s time.”

Chairman David White added: “We’ve made unprecedented strides and are now giving our patients a much better service, even though demand is increasing.”

Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit where the event will be taking place Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Hospital's maternity unit where the event will be taking place Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Ipswich Hospital, which will merge with Colchester this summer, dealt with 88% of A&E patients within four hours during April – the same as the previous month.


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Jan Ingle, head of communications for the trust, said: “Keeping our promise to patients to see, treat and discharge them within four hours is a key goal for us all and we continuing to look at how we can achieve this day-in, day-out.”

West Suffolk Hospital, which is rated ‘outstanding’, achieved 85%, which was also unmoved from March.

The figures from NHS England show A&E attendances and emergency admissions dropped at all three hospitals in April compared to March.

West Suffolk Hospital is rated 'outstanding' by the CQC. Picture: GREGG BROWN

West Suffolk Hospital is rated 'outstanding' by the CQC. Picture: GREGG BROWN

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However, Helen Beck, interim chief operating officer at West Suffolk Hospital, said the trust faced “unprecedented pressure” over the winter and Easter periods, and daily average demand was up 7% in April compared to the same period last year.

She added: “We absolutely want to maintain service standards and our emergency department teams are working hard to improve performance. We have plans in place and strive to meet the targets set. Although we don’t want our patients to wait, we do have to prioritise care for our sickest patients first. With capacity starting to open up more in the hospital, this should help us to admit patients along the right care pathway more quickly.”

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