Redbridge hospital trust accepts ‘real issues’ with A&E admissions

Patients were left waiting in ambulances for over an hour without being admitted to King George or Queen’s Hospitals on 120 occasions in one week, it has been revealed.

The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) today accepted there had been “real issues” with waiting times at its A&E departments in recent months.

Minutes of a Trust Board meeting on March 7 show there were 120 “black breaches” – occasions when patients have waited for more than an hour in an ambulance – for the week ending February 19.

The minutes show that three wards were closed at Queen’s Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford, because of infection and there was an increased number of ambulance diverts to King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

The report said: “Flow was extremely poor through both hospitals.”

There is a planned closure of the A&E and maternity wards at King George but only once the Trust, which runs both hospitals, has satisfied the Care Quality Commission of Queen’s’ suitability to handle services.

The Health Services Journal has reported the one-week figure as the highest ever for any hospital trust and said it beats the previous highest London total of 87, also at BHRUT.

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Cllr Andy Walker, a Labour councillor for Chadwell ward and a member of Redbridge Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said he was concerned to have learned of the breaches through the press.

Cllr Walker, who opposes the closure of King George’s A&E and maternity wards, said: “We need to be in the loop.

“120 patients had to wait for more than an hour in an ambulance because they couldn’t get into King George’s and Queen’s and they want to take King George’s A&E away?”

“I’m stunned that they’re considering closing the A&E when we now know the Trust has the worst record in the whole of London for breaches.

“If there was a bad winter or lots of flu, how on earth would the hospital cope?”

The Trust’s director of nursing, Deborah Wheeler, said it was working hard to address the number of black breaches.

She said: “We are working closely with our partners to reduce length of stay on our wards.

“This includes ensuring that patients can be discharged from hospital and return to their own homes as soon as they are ready.

“We are also working with residential homes to try and prevent unnecessary admissions wherever possible.

“A campaign is underway to encourage people not to come to A&E unless they are seriously ill, but to access more appropriate care closer to home.

“We are also looking at ways of reconfiguring our bed capacity to create more provision for emergency admissions.”