BLACKPOOL’S emergency department is coping under the strain of winter – but only just.
Hospital bosses say the Victoria Hospital’s A&E unit has been “fully staffed”, with extra workers on stand-by and is one of the best performing trusts in the region for waiting times.
Latest figures show an ambulance turn-around – the time it takes from an ambulance arriving at A&E to it being ready to leave again and the patient seen – of 26 minutes.
The comments come after shadow health secretary Andy Burnham claimed emergency departments nationally were overstretched and understaffed, with patients waiting in ambulances for admission – one patient in the Great Western Ambulance Trust area waited in an ambulance for five hours and 42 minutes.
He said: “All over the country, we are hearing reports of patients spending hours on trolleys. They do not have enough staff.”
But John Quinn, emergency and acute medicine directorate manager at The Vic, said: “We have plans to deal with occasions where there is a surge in demand for services at any time of year and our new treatment areas have helped us cope with increased pressure. The NHS and in particular the emergency department is put under extra strain this time of year as winter often brings increased cases of sickness, flu and weather-related accidents.
“Blackpool has been working hard to ensure patients are seen in a timely manner and our ambulance turn-around times are kept within the recognised target of 30 minutes.
“Invariably, with the extra pressure winter brings, we have had some patients wait in the department for longer than we consider acceptable, above four hours.”
People are urged to only attend A&E in a genuine emergency.