NGH waiting times target hit on three consecutive months for first time in four years

Accident and Emergency at Northampton General Hospital
Accident and Emergency at Northampton General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital’s emergency department met its A&E waiting target for three consecutive months this summer, latest figures show.

On average, 95.74 per cent of the 28,745 patients who visited Northampton General Hospital over June, July and August were seen, treated and admitted or discharged within four hours.

It is the first time since 2011 the target - which is 95 per cent - was met for a sustained period of three months.

Chief operating officer Deborah Needham said: “This is a target that we have struggled to meet for a variety of reasons not least of which are patient volume, the complexity of our patients’ needs and delays in discharging patients who no longer need to be in hospital but require support in place before they can safely leave.

“I am immensely proud of everyone at NGH who’s helped us to achieve this. Our staff have done an amazing job in sustaining this performance over three months and we’ve seen a great team effort with departments from across the hospital working hard to support the emergency department.”

Improvements that have contributed to the improved performance have included a year-long expansion of the emergency department with the aim of increasing capacity in key areas and alleviating pressure on bed space.

It included a £1 million resuscitation area, doubling NGH’s capacity to care for the most critically-ill patients, and a new discharge suite where patients can wait comfortably for their discharge paperwork, prescriptions or transport.

Dr Sonia Swart, NGH’s chief executive, said she was delighted with the run of results but stressed that, with winter looming, nobody would become complacent.

She said: “The number of people coming into hospital is increasing and we are now seeing a daily average of 315 patients in our emergency department. Alongside the increase, we’re caring for higher numbers of patients with increasingly complex medical and nursing needs.

“This presents enormous challenges for a hospital in one of the UK’s biggest growth areas and while we’re delighted to have hit the four-hour target this summer, we know that demands on our services will be relentless as we get closer to winter.

“Working together to find realistic and sustainable solutions to these demands is a priority for all health and social care partners in the county.”

The figures broken down by month are:

In June, there were 9656 attendances at A&E with the four-hour target met in 95.29 per cent of cases .

In July, there were 9902 attendances at A&E with the four-hour target met in 96.58 per cent of cases.

In August, there were 9187 attendances at A&E with the four-hour target met in 95.35 per cent of cases .