Sheffield patients ‘wait longer in A&E at weekends’

Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
Sheffield's Northern General Hospital
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Health chiefs in Sheffield are taking action over delays in A&E after patients were found to be waiting longer at weekends.

The target to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours at the Northern General Hospital’s adult accident and emergency unit was breached 14 times on Saturdays and Sundays from April to July this year.

The NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group has launched an investigation into the reasons behind the slump at weekends.

Meanwhile, funding has been secured to help tackle surges in patient numbers, as well as other measures including assessing more patients’ conditions at home.

A report to a meeting of the CCG’s governing body said: “Although daily performance may be subject to local pressures of volume and capacity, the data relating to weekends bears further exploration, given its apparent regular and presumably predictable peaks.

“Additionally, longer-term A&E data over the last three years shows ‘dips’ in performance at key holiday periods - July and August, and early to late December.

“A more detailed explanation of A&E performance is felt to be required and actions identified that will address the issues.”

The CCG is working alongside Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to ‘implement a cohesive strategy’, the report added.

Staffing has been increased at A&E to see patients more quickly on arrival and provide mental health support if needed.

Extra funds for more urgent GP appointments, improving the supply of emergency medicines and schemes to care for people at home have also been awarded to Sheffield by NHS England.

Urgent admission rates are being reviewed in six departments, including orthopaedics and diabetes, to cut the volume of patients seen in A&E.

The CCG will be making a site visit to the Northern General to discuss the issue with hospital bosses.