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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Patients waiting too long in north Cumbria A&E departments

Patients are waiting longer in Cumbria’s A&E departments, according to the latest figures.

Peter Weaving photo
Dr Peter Weaving

One in 10 waited more than four hours during the last week of January – missing the Government target of 96 per cent.

The latest Department of Health breakdown shows 1,417 people went to the emergency departments in Carlisle and Whitehaven during the week, and 129 waited over the four hour target time.

Seventeen waited for up to 12 hours before being admitted.

Health chiefs say winter is the busiest time for A&E departments and they are working to bring waiting times down.

The latest figures, while not reaching Government targets, are better than the first week in January when just 85 per cent of people were seen within the four hours. A total of 1,356 patients went to A&E, and 40 waited between four and 12 hours to be admitted.

The Royal College of Nursing has long been calling for extra resources to alleviate problems at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland hospital, after the hospital trust was put into special measures last year following higher than expected death rates.

Glenn Turp, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, said winter was “particularly challenging for the NHS”. “The simple fact is that without sufficient resources from central Government, Cumbria’s specific pressures cannot be adequately managed,” he said.

“It is clearly unacceptable for a significant number of patients to have to wait between four hours and 12 hours before they are admitted to hospital.”

Dr Peter Weaving, the hospitals’ GP clinical director for emergency care, said people should seek advice from pharmacists as soon as they felt unwell.

“Our A&E teams have to deal with many people who have life-threatening conditions,” he said. “We need to ensure that we can concentrate on helping these emergency cases.”

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