Almost 1,000 people had to wait more than four hours to be treated in Sheffield’s A&E department in the first two weeks of this year, it has been revealed.
New figures released by NHS England show the full extent of the pressure on casualty services at the Northern General Hospital during a period of ‘unprecedented demand’ in which the Red Cross was called in to help transport patients.
A total of 998 people faced the lengthy waits in the fortnight up until January 11.
But NHS staff were today thanked for their ‘extraordinary efforts’ in turning around the situation after getting back on top of Government targets.
Hospitals across the country are tasked with seeing 95 per cent of their patients within four hours – a figure now being achieved in Sheffield.
But at the height of the crisis – partly caused by an outbreak of a large number of flu cases in the city – more than 20 per cent of people visiting A&E were having to wait longer than four hours to be admitted, transferred or discharged.
In the week ending Sunday, January 4, of the 2,814 people who came into A&E in Sheffield, 591 had to wait more than four hours.
It meant only 79 per cent of patients were seen within the time limit.
The situation improved slightly in the week ending Sunday, January 11 – but only 85 per cent of patients were seen within four hours, with 407 people waiting longer than that.
But staff have managed to turn around the situation in the last week.
New figures for the seven days up until Sunday, January 18, show 95.6 per cent of patients admitted to A&E were seen for treatment within four hours – just above the 95 per cent target.
A total of 73 patients had to wait more than four hours for treatment.
Kirsten Major, director of strategy and operations for Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been facing unprecedented demand for emergency services and this continues although we are now beginning to see a drop in the number of patients with flu and respiratory illnesses.
“Despite continuing to be exceptionally busy, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of our staff, both in the hospital and in the community, along with the additional actions we have put in place, we have returned to our previous performance of seeing over 95 per cent of patients within four hours of arriving in A&E.
“We would like to thank the people of Sheffield for their continued support in only using A&E for emergencies. We expect to have further peaks in demand over the rest of the winter period but we will continue to do our very best to keep waiting times as short as we can.”
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