Vic bucks waiting times list of shame

Blackpool Victoria Hospital's A&E department and (below) Pat Oliver.
Blackpool Victoria Hospital's A&E department and (below) Pat Oliver.
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Blackpool Victoria Hospital achieved national waiting time targets for the treatment of accident and emergency patients last winter.

Just over 95 per cent of people were seen within four hours.

Pat Oliver

Pat Oliver

It comes as independent research by the King’s Fund showed last winter 5.9 per cent of patients nationally waited for four hours or longer in A&E which is a nine-year high.

Hospital bosses at BVH said today they managed to stay within the targets by introducing a variety of measures.

These include better use of resources so while the most seriously ill patients are directed towards emergency doctors, the walking wounded are seen at the Urgent Care Centre or GP assessment centre adjacent to A&E.

Meanwhile, a multi-agency strategy has been developed with family doctors to identify the 1,000 most at risk patients across the Fylde coast who regularly attend at casualty.

By focusing care on these individuals, it is hoped to treat them before they reach crisis point.

Pat Oliver, director of operations for the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said working in tandem with other care providers had been key to withstanding the type of pressures which had led to most other hospitals failing to meet the government-set target for waiting times.

She said: “We have been working as a health community across the last year so everybody has been playing their part in a patient’s emergency care.

“We also had no increase in flu levels, our instances of chronic respiratory disease remained at a normal level and Norovirus was contained so there were no ward closures.

“We have already had a winter review meeting and have had our first internal meeting planning for next winter.”

During the winter around 2,000 patients a week attend A&E at BVH, compared to around 1,800 during the summer months.

Of those between 300 and 350 are seen at the Urgent Care Centre which takes the pressure off A&E, and is also open round-the-clock.

The hospital also now boasts six more casualty treatment rooms following a £180,000 investment.

Health centres at Whitegate Drive, and in South Shore and Fleetwood, are also offering alternative treatment options.

The A&E department can handle up to 18 patients an hour but there are still peaks in demand.

Mrs Oliver added: “There can be a spike when 10 ambulances arrive in an hour and when that happens we do have additional space we can open up so we never have patients waiting in corridors.”

It is hoped to improve waiting times still further, and the latest figures for the end of May show 98.5 per cent of patients waited less than four hours.

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