Lancashire hospitals say pandemic 'affected all areas of NHS' as A&E waiting time targets are missed
Latest NHS figures have revealed that 81 per cent of arrivals into A&E in Lancashire were seen within four hours - substantially lower than the NHS target of 95 per cent.
More patients visited A&E at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust last month, with demand rising above the levels seen in March last year.
But Lancashire Teaching Hospitals have said the Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on 'all areas of the NHS', particularly since the winter wave.
This comes as new NHS figures from March revealed that 81 per cent of all A&E patients were seen within the target time of four hours, compared with 86 per cent nationally - when the national target is 95 per cent.
NHS England figures show 12,725 patients visited A&E at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in March, a rise of 21 per cent on the March the year before, where 10,525 patients attended.
The majority of attendances last month were via minor A&E departments – those which treat minor injuries and illnesses such as fractures, cuts and bruises – while 37 were via major departments, with full resuscitation equipment and 24-hour consultant-led care.
Across England, A&E departments received 1.7 million visits last month.
The Post's analysis of recent NHS data shows that at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, 81 per cent of arrivals were seen within four hours, with 1,362 patients waiting longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit.
And of those, 26 were delayed by more than 12 hours.
Further analysis showed that 53 per cent of 'Type One' admissions were seen within four hours, whereas 97 per cent of 'Type Three' admissions were seen within the allocated time frame.
But the hospital has thanked the efforts of its staff throughout the pandemic and said that patients should note that the A&E department is still available to anyone who requires it.
A spokesperson for Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had an effect on all areas of the NHS, particularly since the winter wave.
"However, it is testament to the hard work and dedication of our colleagues that services, such as A&E, which are so vital to the public, have continued to operate at such a high level over this period.
“The work that our staff at the Royal Preston Hospital have done, under immense pressure, is nothing short of incredible and we would like to stress that, despite the pandemic, the A&E department is available to anyone who requires it and shall remain so.
“We would also like to make clear that other services such as NHS 111, urgent care, your local GP and pharmacies are also available to offer medical advice and treatment.”
According to the NHS England website, the waiting time target for patients in A&E is currently set to four hours from arrival to admission, transfer or discharge.
However, they state that not all hospitals have urgent care centres associated, meaning people with minor injuries may have a longer wait until they're seen.
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