Less than two-thirds of patients at Peterborough City Hospital seen within four hour target

Peterborough City Hospital is massively missing its A&E performance target with less than two-thirds of patients admitted, treated or discharged within four hours.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 1st January 2020, 5:00 am

In October, 64.2 per cent of patients were seen within the expected time, far below the national target of 95 per cent.

The North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital in Bretton, said it had seen “significant demand” with a 4.3 per cent increase in emergency admissions year on year.

However, it admitted that “poor flow and untimely discharges” are currently impacting on its performance, with a new emergency care plan now being devised to improve the picture.

A recent photo of stacked ambulances at Peterborough City Hospital

The trust had previously declined to give the performance figure for the city hospital when asked by the Peterborough Telegraph last month, but it has now been published in a report submitted by the organisation for a Peterborough City Council scrutiny meeting.

The report states: “We continue to see significant increases in demand on both our acute sites. However, our teams at Hinchingbrooke Hospital are having more success in meeting the standard, recording 93.3 per cent in October 2019, despite seeing attendances increase by 14 per cent year on year.”

The PT reported last month that the percentage of A&E patients treated, discharged or admitted within four hours at the trust has reduced from 92.6 per cent in October 2018 to 75.8 per cent in October 2019.

However, the latest NHS figures show that figure reduced to 72.5 per cent in November - below the average in England of 81.4 per cent. Only one other trust in the East of England - The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust - performed worse (72.2 per cent).

The NHS figures do not give a breakdown of each individual hospital, with the trust’s performance accounting for Peterborough, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford and Rutland hospitals.

In further worrying news, the number of ambulance hours lost from transferring patients at the city hospital has increased from 886 in October to 936 in November.

In comparison, the figures were 312 in October 2018 and 442 in November 2018.

Medical professionals working in Peterborough have spoken to the PT about ambulances being left for several hours at the hospital to wait to handover patients.

The report submitted to the council’s Health Scrutiny Committee acknowledges there has been some “corridor care” due to pressure on the emergency departments, but it lists several actions being implemented by the trust in its Winter Plan.

They include having “appropriate levels of staffing” in place during peak times - such as after bank holidays and weekends - directing people to where they can receive the most “appropriate” care, and maintaining a “flow” of patients.

This includes increasing the use of the Discharge Lounge at Peterborough City Hospital to free up beds quicker and maximising the use of the outpatient Ambulatory Care Unit.

The report adds that between November 2018 and April 2019 an extra 42 beds were added at the city hospital by joining two single rooms together to create more three-bedded bays and adding an extra bed into four-bedded bays.

However, all beds are currently in use and there is “no capacity to add any additional beds”.

The ambulance bay has also recently been “redesigned and improved” to help with the handover of patients.

A new service is being trialled at Hinchingbrooke which will see patients assessed by an NHS 111 clinical adviser (a registered nurse of paramedic) at the front door of the Emergency Department. This could see patients redirected to see a GP, with an appointment booked there and then.

The report notes: “This initiative began in December 2019. If it proves to be as successful as we hope we will roll it out at Peterborough City Hospital in 2020.”