East and North Herts NHS Trust misses targets for A&E, cancer care and mental health

PUBLISHED: 08:30 03 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:55 03 April 2019

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Our hospital trust is consistently failing to meet waiting time targets when it comes to A&E, cancer care, planned operations and mental health therapy.

In fact the East and North Herts NHS Trust, which runs Lister in Stevenage and the New QEII in Welwyn Garden City, has not met A&E and cancer care waiting time targets since 2015.

The national standard is for 85 per cent of patients with an urgent GP referral for suspected cancer to begin treatment within 62 days, but latest figures show our NHS trust only achieved 66.8 per cent in January.

This is against a national average of 76.2 per cent and ranks our NHS trust 115th out of 131 NHS trusts in England.

When it comes to A&E, 95 per cent of patients should be seen within four hours of arriving, but this is only happening in 80.5 per cent of cases at our NHS trust.

The NHS is considering dropping this particular target, which expects 95 per cent of patients to be seen in time, prioritising the sickest patients instead. The target was introduced in 2004, but has not been met since July 2015.

With planned operations and care, 92 per cent of patients should be treated within 18 weeks of referral. Our NHS trust is achieving this 89.7 per cent of the time, which is above the national average of 86.7 per cent.

Our NHS trust has not met waiting time targets for planned operations and care since 2017.

A move away from target waiting times for cancer and planned operations will also be piloted this year, and could be introduced nationwide in 2020.

A spokesman for the NHS trust said: “Our A&E performance has improved when compared to 2017/18, with often 85 per cent of patients treated or admitted within four hours of arriving. Work being led by our ED team aims to reduce waiting times further – for example, by improving the flow of patients through our hospitals.

“Improving patient flow will also help the NHS trust continue reducing referral-to-treatment waiting times. In relation to January, the NHS trust performed better than the national average – at 89.7 per cent – and was ranked 49th out of 129 trusts. The NHS trust’s performance in February improved further, to 90.4 per cent.

“The NHS trust has also reduced cancer waiting times over the past year, now meeting six out of the eight national standards. By focusing on earlier cancer diagnosis, patients will be treated sooner and receive better, high quality care.”

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