Half of A&E patients not emergency cases

Peterborough City Hospital
Peterborough City Hospital
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Nearly half of patients to Peterborough City Hospital’s Emergency Department over the past year were discharged with no further treatment required.

The morning after pill and a cotton bud stuck in an ear were just two of the more bizarre reasons why people attended A&E in the city.

The figures come after the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded disappointing results for A&E treatment times in April.

Just 76.1 per cent of patients were seen and treated inside four hours, comfortably below the government target of 95 per cent, resulting in a fine of £51,168.

The trust had met the government target in November last year.

A spokeswoman said the trust’s recent poor performance “is due in part to a sustained increase in attendances since the winter and the higher number of genuinely poorly people requiring admission.

“In April we saw 22 per cent more people in A&E than the average of 2015/16. Over the bank holiday, however, we achieved the 95 per cent standard consistently over the three days.”

New figures show 70,669 patients visited the hospital’s Emergency Department over the last year, but that 30,935 left without needing treatment.

For children under five, two thirds (4,911) were discharged with no further treatment.

Tracy Dowling, chief officer, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “These latest figures highlight the increasing demand we are seeing on our A&E departments and the fact that many of the patients attending could actually have been treated elsewhere.

“If you are unsure, then call NHS 111.”

To keep A&E less busy, patients with back pain are advised by the CCG to take painkillers and patients with coughs to see a pharmacist. They should then see a GP if their symptoms do not improve.

For children with colds, the CCG advises “the best treatment is at home, drinking plenty of fluids and getting lots of rest”.