A&E pressure is not going away with some patients left waiting for more than four hours

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Bosses have apologised to anyone affected by delays at A&E after new figures showed more than half of patients were left waiting more than four hours.

A surge in patients last month saw waiting times rise, with the hospital posting the worst figures of any trust in England.

But a change in the way patients are seen – with less urgent cases being moved to the urgent care centre – has artificially reduced the figures for A&E waiting times, the trust that runs the hospital said.

Those waiting more than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged in March would fall from 52 per cent, as reported by NHS England, to 37 per cent. The national average was 24 per cent.

Professor Mark O’Donnell, medical director at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, speaking for the Fylde coast Health Economy said: “We are very sorry for any delays our patients experienced during the recent winter pressures.

“The demands on the emergency department have been significant, with the whole health system across the Fylde coast under severe and sustained pressure over the winter period.

“During this time we recognise that pressures on our services led to an unusually large number of A and E breaches. Despite this all patients were clinically assessed and triaged appropriately.”

He praised the commitment of staff during a ‘challenging time’ and said patient safety was always the top priority. He added: “We would like to stress to our communities that the emergency department is a major focus of attention.”

Blackpool’s A&E saw an extra 200 patients last month compared to December, the worst month this winter for four-hour waits.

Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said the figures showed hospitals nationally now face an ‘eternal winter’.