Sheffield A&E performance bucks national trend

Northern General Hospital A&E department, Sheffield.
Northern General Hospital A&E department, Sheffield.
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Sheffield’s main A&E department has returned to hitting national targets to see 95 per cent of A&E patients within four hours.

The improvement at the Northern General Hospital comes despite national NHS performance on the target falling to its worst-level since the target was introduced.

Across the country, NHS England figures showed that 92 per cent of patients spent four hours or less from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge in the week ending March 29 - the 26th week in a row it has failed to meet the 95 per cent target.

But in Sheffield, 95.5 per cent of people receiving A&E services were seen within four hours.

Of the 2,928 total attendances, 133 people had to wait over the time limit.

Despite the improvement in Sheffield, problems are affecting at Rotherham Hospital, where only 79.7 per cent of patients were seen in time and more than 300 people had to wait over four hours for treatment.

Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt vowed to give the NHS “whatever they need” following the release of the national figures.

Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4: “I think it’s inappropriate to try and make this into a political issue when what you actually have is huge pressure on our A&E departments, caused by a number of things, but the biggest single thing that they all say is the increasing pressure of an ageing population.”

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said Labour would make an extra £2.5 billion available for the NHS straight away paid for through a mansions tax.

Mr Burnham said: “A&E is classically the barometer of the whole health and care system. That barometer is telling us today that there are severe storms breaking over the NHS, because it’s now the worst performance in a decade in A&E.”

Lib Dem health minister Norman Lamb said: “We set the most exacting standards of anywhere in the world and still more than nine out of 10 are being seen and dealt with within A&E within the four hours.”