RECORD levels of pressure on A&E departments across the country are being reflected at the already struggling Heart of England NHS Trust which runs Solihull, Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals.
Over the past year the trust has been failing to meet many of its targets, including the basic 95 per cent of patients being seen within four hours of arriving at A&E – statistics which saw chief executive Dr Mark Newbold resign.
A total of 127 major A&E trusts across the country are missing the 95 per cent target with just 13 major A&E trusts meeting it because of increased patient numbers, a continued shortage of cash and staff and people unnecessarily using A&E instead of also under-pressure, clogged up GP services.
In the final week of December just 82.2 per cent of patients attending Heart of England Accident and Emergency units were seen within four hours – way below the 96 per cent national target.
And despite this statistic showing a dramatic improvement on previous months – it still meant the number of people having to wait more than four hours was still huge 776 – almost three times the national average of 268.
Overall attendances at Heart of England Accident and Emergency units were down 465 to 4,362 with emergency admissions down 31 to 1,484.
Clive Ryder, Medical Director at Heart of England Foundation Trust, said: “Good Hope, Heartlands and Solihull Hospitals all continue to experience great pressures in the emergency departments with more and more people seeking our help every week.
“Our staff are doing everything they can and are working hard to delivering the highest standards of safe care possible for our patients.
“We have invested in additional staff and resources and are working closely with our local partners and colleagues, focussing on reducing waiting times for patients and keeping our patients safe.
“We are urging the public to really think about the alternative options when they do not require emergency care such as visiting a local pharmacy, GP or calling NHS 111.”
Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association said the latest national figures show the NHS is under unprecedented levels of pressure.
He said: “Staff are working flat out but the system is struggling to cope with the sheer number of patients coming through the door.
“In the longer term, for the NHS to meet rising demand we need to address the underlying problems in the system.”
He added that a long-term solution was also needed to the crisis in social care to reduce the number of patients being inappropriately held in hospitals.
“Outside of hospitals, we need to support general practice which is struggling to cope with unprecedented levels of demand and a shortage of GPs.
“There is no getting away from the fact the NHS needs more investment, so we must also ensure that plans to deal with rising demand on the NHS are backed with proper funding.”