A&E performance hits 5 year low at Dorset County Hospital

A&E performance hits 5 year low at Dorset County Hospital

Published by Maria Greenwood at 10:18am 16th January 2020.

Hundreds of A&E patients had to wait more than 4 hours before being dealt with at Dorset County Hospital in December.

The target for A&E departments is to admit, discharge or transfer at least 95% of patients within four hours of arrival.

But NHS statistics show that patients at Dorset County Hospital Foundation Trust waited longer on 749 occasions in December - 8.7% of all attendances.

This was the worst performance for that month since 2015, the earliest period for which data is available, which makes December Dorset County's worst waiting time performance in 5 years.

Dorset County Hospital Entrance

A spokesperson for Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: 

"Despite ongoing pressure on our Emergency Department (ED) we remain above the national average for A&E wait performance and have made significant improvements to ambulance turnaround times

"This is only possible due to a huge amount of commitment and hard work from staff throughout the hospital and we are incredibly grateful for their unwavering dedication to providing the best possible care for our patients.

"Demand on our services is not expected to ease so looking ahead we are aiming to secure funding to expand our Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit as part of plans to develop our site.

Dorset County Hospital Multistorey

"We are asking people to help us manage the pressure on hospital services by using the Emergency Department appropriately. 

"You should only attend the ED for serious conditions and injuries. For more minor conditions there are other local healthcare services available in Dorset, including the Urgent Treatment Centre at Weymouth Hospital, minor injuries units, GPs and pharmacies. For full details please visit the Stay Well Dorset website https://staywelldorset.nhs.uk/"

'The national picture'

  • The vast majority of NHS A&E departments across England fell short of the 95% target in December.
  • Nationally, just 79.8% of patients were seen within four hours - the worst performance for any month since records began in 2010.
  • A&E departments dealt with 2.2 million visits in December - a 6.5% rise on the same month the previous year.
  • During 2019, the national service saw 1.2 million more A&E attendances than in 2018.
patient in hospital bed

President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine Dr Katherine Henderson said there are not enough staff, and far too few hospital beds in which to treat, the rising number of patients.

"These figures show that our emergency departments are at their limits. The current situation is very difficult for both patients and staff," she added.

"We fear though that things will get worse before they get better. Change is coming but we need election promises by the Government to be kept."