Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has met government accident and emergency response time targets for the first time in more than a year, officials have announced today.
During the three month period between April and June, staff at the Gayton Road site reached the 95 per cent threshold for seeing emergency patients within four hours.
But, even as the area basks under the summer’s heat, managers say they are already planning ahead for the forthcoming winter’s pressures.
The latest figures are a stark contrast to the situation in January, when only 81.3 per cent of A&E patients were seen within four hours.
Officials are putting the turnaround down to the hard work of hospital and social services staff, as well as the implementation of a virtual ward system, in which patients who are medically fit to be discharged are cared for in their own homes, rather than in the hospital itself.
Chief executive Dorothy Hosein said the figures, which showed the hospital had met the target in nine of the 11 weeks during the period, made them one of the top performing hospitals in the region.
But she added: “While achieving the 95% target for the quarter is a significant achievement, we are on a journey towards excellence and our next goal is to provide this care consistently every month.
“We are already working on comprehensive plans to cope with winter pressures with our partners at the CCG (West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group) through increasing community and hospital capacity.”
Work on an expansion of the A&E unit, creating an extra 600 square metres of space, was completed in May.
The project included new en-suite rooms, observation bays, a re-organised resuscitation area, a purpose made paediatric treatment area and new staff training programmes.
And Mrs Hosein said: “It is heartening to see the completed improvement programme translating into improved results and patient experience.”
The figures have been released three weeks after Care Quality Commission inspectors returned to the hospital to assess progress made since the trust was placed in special measures in the autumn of 2013.
Hospital sources say they hope the inspectors’ findings will be published over the next month.