Frimley Park misses A&E targets during ‘challenging’ Christmas period

Hospital, attended by people across north east Hampshire, hit by high number of elderly patients with respiratory problems.

Frimley Park Hospital is on the road to recovery following the pressure brought on by a seasonal spike in demand, causing the trust to miss its four-hour A&E target seven times in 11 weeks.

From the week ending November 2 to the week ending January 11, more than 3,000 people had to wait more than four hours to be seen in A&E, according to the latest data from NHS England.

Frimley Park completed its merger with Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HWPH) in Ocober, creating the new Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (FHNFT).

As a result, the trust gained a second A&E department at Wexham Park, in Slough, and a catchment area of nearly a million people.

With A&E departments stretched nationwide, the trust has struggled to meet its statutory requirement of seeing 95% of A&E visitors within four hours.

Attendances peaked at 4,473 during the week ending November 23, with 1,357 people admitted through A&E and a further 248 from other means, resulting in a 94% rate of admission, transfer or discharge rate within four hours.

Between November 2 and December 28, 94.75% of A&E patients were seen within four hours, but this figure fell to 85.6% the week ending January 4 before rising to 88.3% a week later.

Just nine of the 140 major A&E trusts in England and Wales met the four-hour target during the week ending January 11.

However, unlike Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford (81.8%) and St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey (78.9%), Frimley Health did not have to declare ‘major incident’ status.

There were 152 instances of ambulances having to ‘queue’, meaning they had to wait more than 30 minutes for the patient to be transferred into the care of hospital staff – nearly three times the national average of 55.

The trust also currently has 205 ‘blocked beds’. These are beds occupied by patients who cannot be discharged until the hospital is satisfied there is community care available for them to recover at home.

A Frimley spokesman said: “Activity at emergency departments and hospitals across the country rose to levels previously unseen in the days after Christmas.

“Frimley Health’s A&E departments were no exception.

“Locally, the issues were mostly caused by high numbers of elderly and frail patients with respiratory problems. Rather than the number of attendances, it was the proportion of patients requiring admission that became very challenging.

“Although Frimley Health did not declare a major incident at Wexham Park or Frimley Park, both hospitals were operating at maximum capacity.

“Hundreds of staff responded to the rapidly evolving situation. It has been a real team effort.”

The trust said it was not clear what had caused the spike in respiratory issues, but stressed it was seen across the whole south east.

The spokesman said while the timing of the merger was not ideal, the heightened demand for A&E services was a national trend and the merger had no effect on the trust’s figures.

He also stressed that nobody had been turned away from A&E.

Source: GetHampshire

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