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One in ten A&E patients wait more than four hours
ONE in ten people at Colchester’s A&E unit had to wait more than four hours to be seen, new figures have shown.
Latest figures from the NHS showed 89.7 per cent of people at the emergency department of Colchester General Hospital were seen within four hours.
The target is 95 per cent and a hospital board meeting heard the department had also failed to meet the target in September.
This prompted watchdog Monitor to organise a weekly phone call with chiefs to review the situation.
The statistics come against a backdrop of wider failures in waiting times targets nationally.
NHS England as a whole dropped below the 95 per cent target for the first time since April.
The Colchester department saw 1,550 people visit last week, up 132 on the previous week. A total of 35 people were forced to wait between four and 12 hours to be found a bed once A&E staff admitted them to the hospital.
There was also an increase in ambulances waiting at the emergency department, with 62 having to wait more than half-an-hour to transfer a patient.
That was up 47 from the previous week and against a national average of just 34.7.
Two new areas of Colchester General Hospital’s A&E department have just been opened as part of a £2.5million upgrade.
New children’s and adults’ departments have been opened and the resuscitation area has doubled in size. The upgrade will help the hospital deal with the increase in patients needing urgent care this winter.
A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Trust said: “In recent years, the trust has performed strongly against the national four-hour 95 per cent A&E standard.
“We are still on target to achieve it for the whole year, although this target was missed for the months of February and September.
“On both occasions, our performance recovered to finish above 95 per cent in the following months.”
The spokesman said a number of factors had hit performance.
He said: “It is not just about the number of people who come to A&E, butwhat is just as important is how ill they are. Very ill patients with high levels of clinical need tie up high levels of staff and resources, who otherwise could be used to help other patients.
“In common with the rest of the region and the rest of England, our experience has been that winter has started earlier this year.”
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