‘Shocking’ waits at A&E department in King’s Lynn

Lynn News Web Site Fillers
Lynn News Web Site Fillers

A&E waiting times at Lynn’s beleaguered Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) reached “shocking” levels this week, a meeting heard.

The hospital is continually missing targets to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours and one day this week it saw only 67 per cent in the timescale.

Patients referred for appointments at the hospital were also having to wait longer than they should, West Norfolk’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) heard yesterday. More than ten per cent of patients were waiting more than 18 weeks.

Kathryn Ellis, CCG director of operations, said: “It feels at the moment we are seeing a number of escalating problems at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. A& E performance has been really shocking this week which again has been a real concern.”

In addition to the hospital’s failures, East of England Ambulance Service was continuing to fail to meet response times, the meeting at West Norfolk Council’s King Street offices, in Lynn, was told. A consortium of CCGs has agreed a £9.5 million cash boost to try to improve things.

A report to yesterday’s meeting highlighted a potential contributory factor in terms of the time it took for crews to be able to handover patients at QEH and get back on the road.

Figures for April, yet to be agreed by the hospital, showed many instances where handovers, which were meant to be complete in 15 minutes, overran. The report said there were 97 cases where it took more than 30 minutes and a further 13 cases exceeding an hour.

Dr Mark Funnell said: “I am distraught really that we are sitting here listening to this same situation.

“I thought senior management had been brought into the hospital to effect real change.”

Ian Mack, CCG chairman, said there were areas of real improvement at the hospital.

He added: “We have to continue to act as a critical friend. We are all health professionals.

“We need to root out and identify where processes are impeding what needs to happen.”

The Care Quality Commission is due to begin an inspection of the hospital on Tuesday.

Patients are invited to share their treatment experiences with inspectors at a listening event at 6.30pm on Tuesday night at the Dukes Head Hotel, Tuesday Market Place, Lynn.

Last August, the CQC identified a number of areas where the hospital was not meeting national standards of quality and safety.

In October, the hospital was put in special measure by health regulator Monitor for providing poor care.

* Have you visited A&E in Lynn this week? Have you waited more than 18 weeks for an appointment at the QEH? Comment below.