HEALTH chiefs have appointed a daytime GP to help reduce waiting times in the emergency department at Peterborough City Hospital.
The £289 million super-hospital has seen a 20 per cent increase in the number of patients visiting Accident and Emergency, piling pressure on staff.
It has caused Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to miss its Government set target of seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
Both the chairman of the trust, Nigel Hards, and the new chief executive Dr Paul Reading have identified the failing as a key priority.
The trust has now appointed a GP who works in A&E to treat people with minor ailments.
And talks are ongoing between the hospital and NHS Peterborough to start ambulatory care - treating people as outpatients in the community rather than clogging up A&E.
Speaking at last week’s trust board meeting, Mr Hards said: “I know staff have been working round the clock to get us to the 95 per cent mark.
“It’s the only one of the key targets that the trust is currently missing and it is a top priority for us.”
In January, when the hospital was hit by a surge in numbers, 89 per cent of patients, 6,624 people, were seen in four hours while in February 88.5 per cent met the target.
The poor figures are blamed on rising numbers of people visiting the hospital who should be going elsewhere, as well as the winter vomiting bug which closed wards.
The new GP works from 10am to 7pm in the emergency department, treating people who present themselves and do not need specialist emergency care.
While ambulatory care is currently being discussed with NHS Peterborough, problems over costing are said to be a stumbling block. But, it would allow about 60 medical conditions, ranging from thrombosis to cellulitis, to be treated in the community.
A spokeswoman for the trust said: “We have an extensive action plan in place that will follow the advice from the Department of Health support team, who reviewed our emergency pathway.”
Kyle Cliff, senior contracts manager at NHS Peterborough said: “We are working with the hospital trust to improve the care pathway for patients attending the emergency department in line with the recommendations of the Department of Health.”
What do you think?