THE trust which runs Worthing Hospital has fought its way back from being on ‘black alert’ to becoming one of the best in the country for A&E waiting times.
The Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust fell short of the national target to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours between November and December due to ‘unprecendented demand’.
It’s a great credit to the hard work and dedication of staff throughout our hospitals and to the work we have been doing with our partners in the community.Marianne Griffiths, the trust’s chief executive
Not only did the figure fall to 82.5 per cent during that time but the hospitals – both Worthing and St Richard’s in Chichester – were so busy that patients were queuing outside A&E, bed capacity had been reached and planned surgery was cancelled.
However, the trust’s latest results have given bosses something to smile about.
In February, the trust had 95.73 per cent of patients waiting less than four hours from arrival at A&E to admission, transfer, or discharge against a national figure of 87.7 per cent.
And as of March 23, the performance stands at 97.33 per cent for the month and means the first quarter of the year figure (January 1-March 30) is set to be 95.87 per cent.
The figures for March 2– March 22 place the trust as the third best performing trust nationally, and the best in Surrey and Sussex.
Marianne Griffiths, the trust’s chief executive, said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to provide this level of service to patients over a sustained period.
“It’s a great credit to the hard work and dedication of staff throughout our hospitals and to the work we have been doing with our partners in the community.
“I’d also like to thank everyone who has chosen options other than A&E when they have needed urgent care – please keep helping us to save A&E for saving lives by being aware of the alternative and most appropriate treatment options available to you.”
Back in January, reflecting on the ‘unprecedented’ demand, the trust’s medical director, Dr George Findlay, said the reasons for the problems were threefold: A high level of seriously ill and elderly patients coming through A&E, who stay in hospital longer; then, many of the older patients needing additional care arranged after being discharged.
The other reason was a ‘significant backlog of patients’ who were medically fit for discharge but needed community care which wasn’t in place.
The trust’s lead governor Margaret Bamford praised staff for helping the trust recover and return to meeting the targets.
She said: “I think we are extremely proud of the staff that have worked prodigiously and conscientiously to achieve these results against all the odds. People have worked extra shifts, taken shorter breaks and they have pulled out all the stops to not keep people waiting. We are so fortunate that both sites have these staff.
“It’s (the trust) ranked very highly. It’s one of the few sites that will finish the year achieving its A&E targets, which is really good for Worthing patients.
“Having been within the 96 per cent target up until December, we went way out but we have recovered that.
“The performance has been much much better and we have achieved a very high quality record for patients.”
“We really do need to give mention to the whole hospital. It needs to take credit for this performance.”