Health bosses today questioned figures which show patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department are facing waits of up to 12 hours for a bed.
More than six times the amount of A&E patients at the Vic had to wait between four and 12 hours for a hospital bed, compared to the national average, figures published by the BBC suggest.
They also say 127 patients admitted to the hospital last week via the A&E department were forced to wait – 106 more than the average nationally.
And the figures also showed the hospital is falling below Government targets on patient waiting times.
The Government wants 95 per cent of patients attending A&E to be seen within four hours of arriving. The Vic however falls well below that with only 89.7 per cent being dealt with.
That meant, according to the figures, 158 patients last week faced a wait of more than four hours to be seen, above the national average of 123.
Although no figures have been published to counter the BBC research, hospital bosses have questioned the “validity” of the findings.
However, they did admit there were delays in A&E last week.
Adam Bateman, deputy director of operations at the hospital, said: “The Trust has concerns of the validity of the data for which the report is based upon as we believe the reported figure significantly overstates the number of patients who have faced such a delay.
“Nonetheless I would like to stress that we are committed to ensuring no patients wait over four hours for admission to bed following a decision by a clinician to admit a patient to a ward.”
He added: “We have seen some delays in patients who are requiring a hospital admission in the Emergency Department, but last week we enacted our Winter Plans to increase bed capacity and we expect the number of patients waiting for a medical bed to reduce significantly going forward.
“The Trust has a very good track record in providing timely care to patients and we are committed to delivering this.’’
But some patients suggested more needed to be done by the hospital.
Adrian Blackmore, 54, Abbey Road, Blackpool, said: “I’ve had friends who have waiting four, five hours in A&E. It’s down to staffing, they have obviously not got enough staff on.
“Think how many million visitors we get each year which puts a strain on our NHS because we’re here all year round.
“They could live in the countryside and have a beautiful A&E and be seen in two hours but here, it’s different. I reckon there should be more emphasis on bringing in more nurses, more doctors, more trauma nurses.”
Michael Hulme, 71, St Annes Road, Blackpool, recently visited A&E to get treatment for a suspected dislocated hip. He believes that staff there require a “greater sense of urgency.”
He added: “I was in A&E and I thought the staff could have done more to accelerate things.
“They seem to be too busy talking and I thought ‘come on, there’s people here that are slightly distressed, you should be doing some comforting’.”
The full figures for the past week at the hospital show 1.538 people attended A&E in Blackpool. In that same time, 14 planned operations had to be cancelled, compared to the national average of eight.
Mr Bateman said: “It is important we would encourage people with long-term conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease to make sure they have supplies of their standby medication to hand if needed.
“For example people shouldn’t rush to their GP with a cold, as this can be self-treated with paracetamol, rest and plenty of fluids.
“If people go to their GP with an upset stomach or a cold they risk infecting other vulnerable patients and they will simply be told to rest and collect some over the counter remedies from a pharmacist.
“The national Choose Well campaign signposts patients to the correct service. We hope it will also remind people that we need their support to make sure that we can give urgent and emergency care to those people who really need it.”