Waiting times in local A&Es among nation’s worst

Pic: Vitalworks

By Evie Breese and Georgina Gambetta

Hospitals in Tower Hamlets, Croydon, and Lewisham have some of the worst A&E waiting times in London, hitting far below the government’s target, statistics for October from NHS England show.  

Barts Health NHS Trust, in Tower Hamlets, came out lowest of Eastlondonlines boroughs with only 82.7 per cent of patients seen within the crucial four-hour window. This places the A&E sixth worst of the 31 London NHS Trusts, despite an improvement from the previous year. 

A spokesperson for Barts Health said: “Barts Health is one of the busiest providers of emergency care in the country and we treat some of the most seriously ill patients.”

“In October we had more attendances at our emergency departments than any other trust in England. Despite this volume, Barts Health ranks fourth for performance out of the country’s ten busiest emergency care providers, seeing eight out of ten people within four hours.”

“Our teams work exceptionally hard to provide the best possible care and we continue to work closely with our partners to plan for the year ahead.” 

St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Pic: James Stringer

Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust which runs Lewisham University Hospital as well as Greenwich Hospital, was marginally higher with 83.8% and Croydon hit 84.1%.  

Dr Kathryn Channing, lead clinician for the Emergency Department at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, told Eastlondonlines: “This isn’t yet where we want it to be, but it is better than the national average and has improved steadily since the start of the year. We are proud of the improvements achieved by our busy emergency staff, and we are caring for almost 100 more people every day than we did last year.” 

The national average was 83.6% – the NHS target is 95%. This is the lowest level since targets were introduced in 2010.  

Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in Hackney, on the other hand, was one of the few leading the way in the capital hitting 94%, only one percent below target. 

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “Much of this is down to the effective running of our emergency department which has been rated by the CQC as ‘Outstanding’.” 

These figures are particularly daunting as the number of admissions are set to rise in the coming winter months, but the NHS says the public can do their bit to help ease hospitals’ burdens. 

 A spokesperson for the NHS in London said: “The public also have a role to play… by getting their flu jab, and by using the NHS 111 phone or online service as a first port of call for non-emergencies.” 

St Barts Health Trust had not responded to requests for comment at time of publication 

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