King George and Queen's A&E waits among worst in country, committee hears

Queen's Hospital in Romford

Queen's Hospital in Romford - Credit: Daniel Gayne

King George and Queen’s Hospitals have among the worst A&E wait times in the country and are “getting worse”, a committee heard. 

Just under three out of ten type one A&E patients were seen within four hours at the Goodmayes and Romford facilities, according to NHS figures for December. 

The hospitals’ performance figures for four-hour waits was already at 44.6 per cent in 2019, falling from 82.8pc in 2015.  

The average four-hour wait performance for all types of A&E attendance was better, at 60pc, but still in the lowest seven pc of England’s 207 NHS trusts. 

At a Redbridge Council health scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday, February 1, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) – which runs the two hospitals – was taken to task for its “abysmal” performance. 

Cllr Neil Zammett, committee chair and a retired hospital manager, urged BHRUT to open more A&E beds, insisting the suggested system review would only “kick the can down the road”. 

He told trust representatives: “It’s not just awful, it’s abysmal and it has been for ages. If you look at the figures, it’s not only the worst in the country, it’s getting worse.  

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“The reality is the things you’re doing are not making a difference. It’s not enough, we need more beds open pronto. Another system review, I guarantee, will do absolutely nothing.  

“We’re not just calling you, we’re begging you, I think I talk for everyone on this committee when I say we’re fed up to the back teeth.” 

In a January BHRUT board report, chief executive Matthew Trainer said part of the problem was that “more and more people, particularly those who are quite sick” were using the emergency department “as their first point of access to care”. 

Last October, the emergency departments dealt with 18pc more patients than during the same month in 2019.

To “get back on track,” the trust says it has added a critical care unit at Queen’s that will free up 30 beds and discharge and stroke rehabilitation wards at King George

However, any extra beds will be reliant on having the “necessary workforce”, Mr Trainer has warned. 

An ambulance receiving centre has also been opened at Queen’s to care for patients queuing and to redirect those who do not need to be admitted to specific departments.