As health secretary Jeremy Hunt suggests scrapping the four hour target treatment time at accident and emergency departments, getwestlondon has done some digging to find the best and worst performing hospitals in our area.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday (January 9), Mr Hunt said that the target time to see all A&E patients within four hours needed to be changed so it no longer included non-urgent cases.
The four hour target was brought into effect by a Labour government in 2004, and originally said hospitals must admit, transfer or discharge 98% of patients within the time limit.
Figures released by The Royal College of Emergency Medicine on Friday (January 6), showed that average performance across England for the four hour target was around 77%, with some trusts struggling at 50% to 60%.
The best in west London
Figures published by NHS England show that the best performing A&E in west London when it comes to the four hour target is Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
During the the second quarter of 2016 (July, August and September), there were 68,948 A&E admissions at the trust, with 94.8% of patients being dealt with in under four hours.
Despite being the best performing A&Es in west London, the trust still falls short of the 95% target.
Chelsea and Westminster Trust is followed by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and London North West Healthcare NHS Trust.
London North West trust saw 84,136 admissions during the three-month period.
A total of 90.3% of these patients were dealt with in four hours, making it the second best performing trust in West London.
North West is responsible for the accident and emergency departments at Ealing and Northwick Park hospitals.
Imperial, which runs St Mary's Hospital in Paddington and Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith, admitted 72,764 A&E patients and treated 90.2% within four hours.
However, the trust also admitted two patients between July and September 2016 who waited more than 12 hours between the decision to admit them and the actual admission.
|Hospital trust||Total A&E patients (Last quarter)||Percentage seen in under 4 hours|
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation
London North West Healthcare NHS Trust
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
|Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust|| |
Worst performing in west London
The worst performing west London Trust when it comes to the A&E four hour time limit is Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHNFT), which runs Hillingdon Hospital.
HHNFT saw 40,013 patients attend the A&E during the second quarter of 2016, with 85% of these patients being dealt with in the target time.
'The emergency care system is on its knees'
Speaking about the country-wide figures, president of The Royal College of Emergency Medicine, Taj Hassan, said: “The emergency care system is on its knees, despite the huge efforts of staff who are struggling to cope with the intense demands being put upon them.
“The scale of the crisis affecting emergency care systems has reached new heights, as we predicted, mainly due to a lack of investment in both social and acute health care beds as well as ED staff.
“While at a local level there may be a case to be made around the need for better service planning, the ultimate problem is a national one – our emergency care system is clearly underfunded.”
'Not all health problems however minor'
Speaking in the Commons on Monday, Mr Hunt said: “Looking to the future, it is clear we need to have an honest discussion with the public about the purpose of A&E departments.
“There is nowhere outside the UK that commits to all patients that we will sort out any urgent health need within four hours.
“Only four other countries – New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, and Canada, have similar national standards which are generally less stringent than ours.
“This government is committed to maintaining and delivering that vital four hour commitment to patients.
“But since it was announced in 2000, nearly nine million more people are using our A&Es, up to 30% of whom NHS England estimate do not need to be there, and the tide is continuing to rise.
“So if we are going to protect the four hour standard, we need to be clear it is a promise to sort out all urgent health problems within four hours, but not all health problems however minor.”
'Pressures are complex'
Charles Cayley, medical director at London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "Having introduced new procedures and forging closer links with the London Ambulance Service, Social Services and Clinical Commissioning Groups to better manage demand, we were pleased to see an improvement in our A&E waiting times.
"We would ask the public to help our staff and visit the Emergency Department for serious and life-threatening injuries and conditions only. Please consider alternatives such as visiting your local walk-in centre, pharmacy or calling 111 for minor injuries or advice. This will help relieve the pressure on our services.”
An Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust spokesman said: "Our staff work incredibly hard to ensure patients who present to A&E are seen in a timely manner and get the care they need – however, as in other A&E departments across the country, we are often under real pressure.
“The causes of the pressures are complex and include challenges in discharging patients who have completed their hospital treatment but need on-going care and support at home or in the community, as well as increasing demand.”
The other west London trusts have been approached for comment.
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