A new team to improve waiting times at A&E in Peterborough is being brought in to help the city hospital.
The specialist team is being established after the percentage of patients at the hospital’s Emergency Department treated within the target time of four hours dropped below 70 per cent in December, compared to the Government’s target of 95 per cent.
Stephen Graves, chief executive at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Peterborough City, Hinchingbrooke and Stamford Hospitals, said: “It has been a challenging period for urgent care services across the country, and despite our efforts the trust’s performance against the four-hour waiting time standard for emergency patients is falling short of the 95 per cent target.
“This results in a poor experience for patients and impacts upon staff morale.
“We have asked a specialist team with a track record for improving the emergency care performance in other trusts to work with us. We have also asked colleagues from the national Emergency Care Improvement Programme to support a renewed focus upon our discharge process.
“Both teams have already visited the trust and will be intensively working with us from the new year.
“The cost of the specialist team support is being met through funding released by the Department of Health to help meet the increased urgent care pressures over the winter.”
The specialist team is still being assembled with its members expected to be finalised in the new year.
The money for the team is coming from a new £1.5 million funding pot for Cambridgeshire handed over by the Government as part of additional NHS funding announced in last month’s budget.
The money will fund a variety of urgent care support services over the winter.
It will be used for the hospital as well as GP and mental health services in the county.
In November, 77.7 per cent of patients at Peterborough City Hospital’s Emergency Department were being treated inside four hours.
However, between December 1 and 20 that figure had dropped to 68.3 per cent. Both figures remain unvalidated.
The hospital said it was seeing a higher than normal number of patients, a greater number of patients whose transfer of care to another health organisation is delayed, and delays within the hospital itself due to staffing and service issues.
In October, the Peterborough Telegraph revealed that a patient at the hospital’s Emergency Department was left waiting 24 hours to be admitted - the second longest wait in the country in 2016/17.