Blackpool hospital patients still facing 12-hour waits in A&E

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Steps being taken to reduce waiting times include changes to the medical admissions process -Credit:Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning

More than three-quarters of patients are being seen within four hours of arriving at A&E in Blackpool but the number spending more than 12 hours in the emergency department remains high, according to the latest hospital data.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been praised by NHS England for hitting national targets which mean 76 per cent of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. But the number of patients spending more than 12 hours in A&E has been rising since November last year. Figures presented to the latest meeting of the hospital board show 1,919 patients (9.2 per cent) waited more than 12 hours in March compared to 1,712 (8.9 per cent) in February.

A report to the board warns the figure “remains high” and adds the “delay is linked to patients requiring admission, delays in clerking and overcrowding.”

Steps being taken to reduce waiting times include changes to the medical admissions process while efforts to free up hospital beds in order to speed up admissions includes the use of virtual wards.


However, a letter from Sarah-Jane Marsh, national director of integrated urgent and emergency care at NHS England, has praised the hospital for exceeding the 76 per cent performance target for seeing A&E patients within four hours. She says this has “required significant focus and dedication, including increasing bed capacity within hospitals and expanding same-day emergency care”.

In a report to the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals board, chief executive Maggie Oldham said Ms Marsh had “acknowledged the efforts made in increasing bed capacity, expanding same-day emergency care, changing ways of working with a greater focus on streaming and working with system partners to expanding the use of virtual wards and improve access to urgent treatment

In March this year, health chiefs revealed demand for emergency care at Blackpool Victoria Hospital had increased by 17 per cent last winter in what was branded ‘unprecedented’ pressure on services. The worst day saw a 36 per cent increase in patients attending A&E with 11 per cent of attendances being category one – meaning they were the most seriously ill patients.

Steps to improve treatment times include the £25m development of an emergency village at the hospital.