North Wales A&E patients now facing an average SEVEN HOUR wait

Original by Marc Waddington, North Wales Live - https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/north-wales-ae-patien…

Time it takes to be admitted or discharged has doubled in the last five years

 

People who are turning up to hospitals in North Wales for emergency treatment are waiting more than seven hours to be sent home or admitted to hospital.

On average, it is taking up to 440 minutes - seven and three-quarter hours - at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

The health board says the figures also include the times people who are returning for follow up treatment must wait.

But the waiting times are drastically worse than they were five years ago, when a patient could expect to wait around three and a half hours.

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been in special measures since 2015.

On average, the total wait to be seen at Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor hospital was 195 minutes in 2014 and 415 this January - an increase of more than 100%.

The Welsh government target is for 95% of patients to be seen within four hours.

Betsi Cadwaladr chief executive Gary Doherty said: “Since 2014 we have seen an increase in patients with complex care needs attending our Emergency Departments. 

"Priority is always given to the most urgent cases and these by their nature take longer to treat prior to discharge or admission which impacts upon waiting times.

"We are working hard to ensure our patients receive the care they need as soon as possible. This includes helping people access care and support in the most appropriate place, such as a pharmacy, GP surgery or Minor Injuries Unit, if they do not require the specialist life-saving service our Emergency Departments provide.

"There has been a significant improvement in performance across all three of our hospital sites compared to January 2019 and this time last year. Our figures for February 2019 showed an increase in demand compared to February last year, with over 500 more people attending our three Emergency Departments.

"Despite this, we are seeing an increased percentage of patients within the four hour target and a reduction in the number of people waiting over 12 hours compared to February 2018.

"We continue to see a reduction in the time taken for ambulances to handover patients at our hospital sites, with a 73% reduction in the number of ambulances waiting over one hour compared to the same time last year.

"An increased number of patients are being seen more quickly, which releases ambulance crews to respond to emergencies in our communities."

North Wales Assembly Member Janet Finch-Saunders said she was alarmed at the figures.

She added: "Undoubtedly, the staff at our A&E departments are doing the best they can in increasingly challenging circumstances. However, it is unfair that people are having to wait an extended time for help when they need it most.

“I do believe that the Welsh government needs to take urgent action to help the North Wales health board reach the target waiting time.

“An investigation is certainly needed so to establish why waiting times have deteriorated so severely over 5 years, and, as always, I believe that much more should be done to train and recruit new staff”.