Havering hospital trust failed to meet government A&E targets every week between November 2012 and November 2013 - report

Queen's Hospital has seen its first cases of the winter vomiting bug

Queen's Hospital has seen its first cases of the winter vomiting bug - Credit: Archant

Havering’s hospital trust missed its government-set target for A&E waiting times every single week between November 2012 and November 2013 – a badge of shame it shares with no other London trust.

The government expects 95 per cent of patients in emergency units to be seen within four hours in any given week. In the 12 months to November 3, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHR) didn’t achieve this once.

But opening extra beds, coupled with the fact some Havering GPs now work at weekends, saw the trust hit 95.7pc in the week ending November 10, according to a trust spokesman.

Just under 85 per cent of BHR’s A&E patients were seen within four hours during the year to November 3. Only one trust out of London’s 22 recorded a lower number, with half a per cent fewer patients seen in the four-hour window.

And with one of BHR’s two A&E centres set to close in 2015 – King George in Goodmayes – health campaigners are concerned the figures will get worse as Queen’s Hospital, Romford, struggles to cope.

The data, slammed by a health watchdog as “truly shocking”, have come to light in a London Assembly report published today that warns the capital’s health care system is “under stress” and urges NHS England to publish “recovery and improvement” plans for failing A&E departments.

It was announced in September the trust will be handed £7m by the government to bolster A&E services against winter pressures over the next two years.

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But with fewer than 82 per cent of emergency patients in October seen within four hours at BHR, health campaigners say other solutions are needed.

A Healthwatch Havering spokesman said: “The failure of BHR to meet the four-hour target for A&E patients is a matter of serious concern.

“It is truly shocking it is the only London trust to fail in this way.

“A&E departments are facing unprecedented levels of attendance – and with winter coming, the position will clearly only get worse.

“Healthwatch Havering is already working with BHR, Havering Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group on measures to mitigate the worst of the winter problems but longer-term solutions are needed, and quickly.

“The evidence suggests the pressure arises from a number of issues and we accept there may be no immediate ‘magic’ solution.

“But that will be no excuse for continual failure into the future.”

He added difficulty in making GP appointments, lack of awareness of other sources of treatment and BHR’s struggle to recruit A&E medics were among the factors pushing up emergency admissions.

Chief executive Averil Dongworth said: “We have been very open about the challenges we face to meet the A&E target.

“We have recently been praised for the care we provide to patients while they are in our A&E departments, but some people are still facing unacceptably long waits.

“We are working closely with our health and social care partners to bring about improvements.”