Call for answers over Blackpool A&E failures

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Lives are being ‘put at risk’ on the Fylde coast by a lack of funding for the NHS, it has been warned.

It comes after figures revealed Blackpool had by far the worst A&E waiting times in the country in December.

And resort MP Paul Maynard has written to health secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him investigate why Blackpool Victoria Hospital is performing so much worse than others, which are facing the same winter pressures.

While overall patient numbers rose last month, compared to December 2016, there were fewer – 6,028 – arriving at the Vic’s emergency department.

Yet almost 60 per cent of them, far below the 95 per cent target, were left waiting more than four hours – including 75 people who waited more than 12 hours.

A spokesman for the Vic said the increased severity of cases seen at the hospital’s emergency department in December meant they required ‘more care and attention’ prior to admission, leading to the delays.

However, the hospital was unable to say why it’s performance was so much worse than the rest of the country, with the second worst trust seeing more than 57 per cent of A&E patients within the four hour target, compared to 40.1 per cent at the Vic.

Ken Cridland, chairman of Blackpool Against the Cuts, said: “Most hospitals are being affected badly –people are being affected badly. It’s not acceptable. It’s clearly caused by under-funding. Lives are being put at risk.”

He added the problems being faced in the resort ‘would be a lot less if they could provide the right number of nurses and doctors and beds’.

Figures published by NHS England on Thursday revealed more than one in seven of the 497 A&E patients in England forced to wait 12 hours or more in December were in Blackpool.

Mr Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “I am concerned to see such a high percentage of people spending greater than four hours in either accident and emergency or urgent care before being admitted or discharged.

“I do not doubt for a moment the hard work and dedication of those staff on the front line and the huge challenges they face every day. However, it is clear there are issues which need to be addressed.

“Figures for November and December both show a year-on-year drop in performance at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, despite relatively stable patient numbers.

“I have written to the Trust chief executive Wendy Swift asking for urgent explanation of these figures and assurances improvements will be made.”

He added that the Government had provided £350m to ease the winter pressure on hospitals.

Mr Cridland added: “We don’t support any argument that suggests there’s something wrong with the services in Blackpool. Blackpool is suffering from the way the world is running.”