Almost 1 in 10 patients visiting A&E at Stepping Hill Hospital have to wait for longer than the 4 hour target set by the Government to be seen.
The health regulator, Monitor, has instructed hospital bosses to urgently address the situation, as the hospital has continually failed to meet the A&E waiting targets. Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Stepping Hill, has responded by saying that it intends to improve the situation, and has already begun to implement changes.
The A&E waiting target was brought in to ensure that 95% of A&E patients are treated, transferred or admitted within 4 hours. Stepping Hill is failing to meet the target with only 91.2% of patients being dealt with within 4 hours, and has fallen short in four of the past six financial quarters.
Approximately 7,500 patients currently visit the A&E department each month at Stepping Hill Hospital, which is an increase of 9% on this time last year.
Monitor has ensured that hospital bosses take steps to improve Stepping Hill's A&E waiting targets as their priority is to ensure patients receive a quality service. A new medical assessment unit is being built next to the A&E department to help deal with patients, and representatives from Monitor will have monthly meetings with hospital managers.
The chairman of the trust which runs Stepping Hill Hospital has spoken out to reassure patients that Monitor's concerns are being taken very seriously, and the situation will be improved. She also pointed out that minor injuries or illnesses can often be dealt with by a GP or pharmacist rather than a trip to A&E.
By Caroline Guy