North Cumbria emergency care figures above national average
NORTH Cumbria’s hospitals have continued to perform above the national average for emergency care despite the busy winter period. The trust which runs the hospitals at Carlisle and Whitehaven has been ranked 42nd out of 139 with a major A&E department in England for December.
The national standard is that 95 per cent. of patients should be seen, treated, admitted or discharged from A&E in under four hours. The national average for trusts was 79.3 per cent. and North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust’s overall performance was 85.78 per cent.
Helen Ray, executive chief operating officer at the trust said: “The latest national data shows that, despite the challenges and pressures we are experiencing in line with hospitals across the country, our dedicated staff are constantly striving to deliver the best service we can and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work.
“We will continue to focus on doing everything we can to improve our performance because behind those figures are our local communities who deserve to receive timely and quality healthcare services when they need us the most in our emergency departments.
“The public can also help us with this by ensuring they only access our emergency services in serious and immediate emergencies.”
In December, 2016, and January, 2017, almost 15,000 people attended the trust’s A&E departments at the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital. However, only around 4,000 (just over a quarter) of those people actually needed to be admitted to a hospital bed. Many had less urgent or serious problems which could have been looked after by another service in the community.
The trust is urging people not to attend hospital for common winter ailments which can normally be treated at home, such as norovirus (diarrhoea and vomiting), which is highly contagious and can easily spread to patients in hospital as well as members of staff.
Helen Ray added: “Whist we encourage people to attend our hospitals if you are seriously unwell, I would like to remind people of the alternative options available for less serious conditions.
“Our staff are working under pressure and must prioritise patients based on their clinical need, focusing on those are seriously ill and in need of urgent attention. People with less serious conditions may face a long wait and therefore there may be a quicker and more effective way to access the help they need such as seeing a pharmacist, their GP or by calling 111.”