Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Waiting times crisis at St Peter's Hospital.

I was looking forward to the release of the Annual reports for Ashford and St. Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust – they have to produce some figures every year, if not the really useful ones.

They aren’t out on their website yet, so, I’ve been looking at some old reports and checking out some interesting figures of my own.

Let’s take a look at waiting times for people attending Accident and Emergency. Under the last labour Government, 98 % of patients had to be seen within 4 hours. Now the ‘4’ is a bit hit and miss; there are some minor problems that don’t need seeing straight away, and there’s some pretty serious stuff that needs doing right now – but it’s at least something – hanging around matters to patients.

It doesn’t judge quality or care, of course, just when you get seen.

Our new Government reduced it to 95%, to give Doctors some ‘flexibility’; what is that all about?

Hospitals are judged on quarterly and annual figures, which means they can usually jiggle them in time – employing temps to speed things up when they need to get out of a hole. Laying them off when it’s going well.

St. Peter’s is in a hole right now; I checked out the NHS’s ‘Weekly Sitrep’ site and these are St. Peter’s recent figures. ‘Type 1’ are the more serious cases, while ‘all’, is self-explanatory. St Peter’s doesn’t have any figures for ‘type 2’, which I’m assuming is the specialist stuff.

These are the percentages of those waiting times of ‘4 hours or less’, and they should all be above 95;


                                     Type 1                   All

14th April                     83.5                     86.2

7th April                       93.7                     94.4

31st march                  97.3                     97.7

24th March                  85.3                     87.8

17th march                  84.5                     86.6

10th march                  82.5                     84.9

3rd march                    82.7                     84.9

24th February             89.1                     90.8

17th February             87.3                     89.3


Remember, Norovirus has gone, no flu epidemic this year. None of this is good, it means fines if they don’t sort it out. More importantly, these figures are the stories of real live people in pain and worried, hanging about waiting. Worse, they’ll get away with it – it’s year end and if they are lucky they can lose this bad spell in the figures for last year.

Better give that expensive agency a ring.

Alternatively you could;


I want 10 consultants at the A and E and I want them now!

Soon, I’m going to have to explore the figures for the number of consultants working there… a few puzzles if I’m not mistaken.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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