Sheffield A&E targets missed in summer months

Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.
Northern General Hospital, Sheffield.
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Sheffield’s main A&E department has been missing national targets for treating patients within four hours this summer.

New figures released by the Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group have revealed the national target for seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours was missed at the Northern General Hospital in June and July by almost 10 per cent.

But bosses say the situation has improved in August.

A new A&E Delivery Board is being established in the city to try and improve performance – with the missed targets being blamed on factors including people coming into A&E who do not need emergency treatment and delays in patients being discharged from hospital.

A report to the CCG said: “Local data for July indicates that Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust are not meeting the pledge, with only 86.49 per cent of patients seen/treated within four hours; this is a slight improvement on performance in June.

“Issues affecting the performance continue to be system-wide, including demand that could be managed out of a hospital setting, delays in patient flows through the system and, in some cases, delays in patients being discharged from hospital.”

Kirsten Major, director of strategy and operations at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have continued to see high numbers of people attending A&E throughout the summer, and on some days the attendances have been at a similar level to those we would expect in the busy winter months. Our staff work exceptionally hard and all patients are triaged on arrival.

“Even at our busiest times, on average eight out of ten patients are treated and discharged or admitted within four hours.

“In August performance increased and it is currently over 94 per cent.

“We have also seen an impact from the demand for social care experienced by the city council, which means a high number of patients who no longer need hospital care have not been able to be discharged as quickly as we would expect.

“The Urgent Care Delivery Board is a new national initiative, but for some months we have already been working with our partners across the city to ensure our system for urgent and emergency care works as well as it can – this is about much more than accident and emergency services.”

Maddy Ruff, accountable officer for Sheffield CCG, said a new delivery board is being set up to help improve performance in Sheffield, which is suffering similar problems to other hospitals across the country.

She said the new board will be in place in September and help to oversee the delivery of an action plan for Sheffield’s urgent healthcare system.