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Queen’s and King George hospitals ‘pulling out all the stops’ to avoid major incident

08:22 08 January 2015

Ambulances outside Queen

Ambulances outside Queen's Hospital's A&E (Picture: Sandra Rowse)

Archant

Staff at Queen’s and King George hospitals are “pulling out all the stops” to maintain A&E services and prevent a major incident being declared.

Bosses at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust (BHRUT) announced a significant internal event (SIE), one level below a major incident, on December 28. Queen’s in Romford and King George in Goodmayes have remained on the alert since.

Across the country 15 trusts have already succumbed to a nationwide spike in demand for A&E services, resorting to closing services or treating patients in tents in hospital grounds.

A major incident will be declared if the hospitals do not have enough resources to cope with the demand and it will have to turn away all non-emergency cases.

Waiting times in the emergency departments of BHRUT’s hospitals have had their worst quarter in the last five years – as far back as records are available – with almost one in four (23.3 per cent) people not being seen within four hours.

BHRUT’s chief operating officer, Sarah Tedford, said: “The sheer numbers we are seeing means that some people are having to wait far longer than we would like in our emergency departments.

“It is vital that we see people in order of their clinical need so we ensure the most vulnerable patients are treated first.

“Our priority is always the safety of our patients and our staff are working tirelessly to make sure that people receive the care they need.”

Over the last four weeks more than 12,000 patients have come through the doors of Queen’s Hospital’s A&E department in Rom Valley Way, Romford, which is a 16pc rise on the same period last year and, as detailed in the graph to the right, 12pc more people are having to wait longer than four hours.

Havering Council’s cabinet member for adult services and health, Cllr Wendy Brice-Thompson, said: “It’s very bad and it’s because people are using A&E services incorrectly.

“I have heard of people who turn up with condition who ought to go to their GP but people aren’t prepared to wait for appointments and go to A&E rather than going to the chemist and making use of their services.

“There are people with genuine needs and there is a backlog at the A&E departments.”

Redbridge Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing Cllr Wes Streeting said: “This isn’t just a local problem – the picture in A&E departments is the worst quarter of A&E performance since records began.

“This is a national problem which we are experiencing acutely in Redbridge.”

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