Too many patients still waiting longer than four hours at Colchester General Hospital A&E

Colchester General Hospital. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Colchester General Hospital. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

An MP has expressed his concern as figures show Colchester General Hospital is continuing to fall significantly below national targets for its waiting times in A&E.

Colchester MP Will Quince. Picture: PA

Colchester MP Will Quince. Picture: PA - Credit: cont

In September this year, 80% of patients spent four hours or less from arrival at the emergency department to admission, transfer or discharge – way short of the NHS standard of 95%.

This has been an ongoing issue for the hospital, which has failed to reach above 85% in every month of this financial year.

Overall in 2016/17, 84% of patients spent less than four hours waiting in A&E, which was a slight improvement on trust’s 2015/16 score of 82%.

In comparison, Ipswich Hospital hit 91% in 2016/17, while West Suffolk Hospital achieved 87%.

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Colchester MP, Will Quince, said: “Of course it concerns me. A&E is the issue I raise with Nick Hulme [Colchester General Hospital chief executive] every time I meet with him and I know he is on the case, he has got a plan. They have just invested a lot of money which we secured via the government to try and improve the flow there.”

Mr Quince said one of the biggest problems was too many people were going to A&E when they did not need to.

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He added: “It’s never anything we want to have, we want to have people seen as quickly as possible and that’s why we have got to keep pressure on the hospital to address the underlying issues that are leading to this.”

Dr Barbara Buckley, managing director of Colchester General Hospital, said: “We fully support the national 95% standard for emergency departments and remain fully committed to achieving it, because it is in our patients’ best interests to do so.

“Our staff constantly review our own internal systems and processes in order to identify areas where we can make improvements.”

She added: “The safety of our patients is always our top priority and we assess all new arrivals to ensure that they are not at any immediate risk, but the trust apologies to those patients who spend significantly longer in A&E than we would wish them to.”

Dr Buckley urged patients to only attend A&E in an emergency and to utilise services like the NHS 111 phone line, GP practices, pharmacies and the minor injuries units at the community hospitals in Clacton and Harwich, in order to ease pressure on A&E.

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