Posted: June 10, 2015
Waiting times at A&E at Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital are to be investigated by watchdog Monitor.
It has opened an investigation into Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to find out why patients have been waiting too long to be seen in its A&E department.
The trust, which provides acute and specialist care at hospitals in Gloucester and Cheltenham, has been failing to see some patients in A&E within the national waiting time target of four hours. It has been missing this target for the majority of the financial year from September 2014 to 2015.
Monitor will examine why the trust is consistently failing the national A&E target and what can be done to reduce waiting times for patients.
Paul Streat, Regional Director at Monitor, said:”Some patients at the trust have been waiting too long in A&E, and this has been going on for some time. For the benefit of local people in Gloucestershire, the situation needs to improve soon.
“Over the past year we have worked with the trust and local health care organisations to identify what could be done to improve health care across the area, but we now need to look more closely at what the trust could do for its patients in A&E.”
No decision has been made by Monitor on whether action will be needed. Monitor will announce the outcome of its investigation once it is completed.
Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services.
A statement from Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Emergency care is a whole system issue with close interdependencies across both primary as well as social care.
“We are fully committed to improving A&E waiting times and we welcome the opportunity to work with Monitor and our partners on delivering high quality patient care against this standard.
“A detailed action plan has already been implemented and we have continued to make good progress. In May the Trust narrowly missed out on the four hour wait having achieved 93.53 per cent.
“Monitor will announce the outcome of its investigation in due course.”
The Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Miller said: “We share the Hospital Trust’s view that on-going and close partnership working across the health and social care community is vital to make sure that waits in Gloucestershire’s A&E departments continue to reduce and that patients always receive the right care, in the right place at the right time.
“There is a joint plan in place which includes recruiting additional staff, providing increased access to GP appointments and increasing capacity within community services. This plan is supported by significant additional investment in front line services.
“Performance against the four hour maximum wait standard is improving and we are committed to working closely with the Trust, Monitor and other partners to build on this.”
The CCG also said that attendances at the two emergency departments fell by 2.6 per cent in April and May compared to the same period last year.