A&E waiting times at Bedford Hospital beating targets

MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508095221
MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508095221

Bedford Hospital’s A&E waiting times are among the best in the country and well ahead of national trend thanks to co-ordinated teamwork by health and social care services across Bedfordshire.

Figures out today show that Bedford’s A&E department has consistently met the four-hour waiting time target since early January and is the second top performer in the East of England region this month. As many as 98 per cent of patients were seen, treated and either discharged or admitted in under four hours – three percentage points above the target of 95 per cent and well above the national average of under 93 per cent.

Health and social care services across Bedfordshire have worked together with the hospital to develop initiatives to tackle the extra pressure this year. These have involved support from GPs, community nursing teams, the ambulance service and social care teams, and have clearly paid off. Members of the public have also been encouraged to play their part by selecting the right sort of emergency health care for their needs with the Choose Well campaign.

One of these initiatives has seen a group of GPs and nurses working alongside A&E to provide rapid assessment and ensure patients are streamed to the correct NHS service.

Local GP and vice-chairman of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Peter Parry Okeden, said:“Doctors and nurses from the GP on-call service – Bedoc - provide an extremely valuable supportive role to the hospital with face-to-face emergency assessment and triage at peak times. This is just one of the ways that local health services in Bedfordshire are working in partnership to make sure high numbers of emergency patients get the most appropriate care.”

Bedford Hospital chief executive, Stephen Conroy, said:“Like many hospitals across the country we have experienced exceptionally high demand this winter. However, during this period we have been among the top performing hospitals in England for waiting times and we have also achieved our best ever patient experience survey results in A&E for the Friends and Family Test. Staff across the hospital have worked tirelessly over the past few months with our health and social care colleagues and have excelled in ensuring patients are discharged safely as soon as they are fit to go home.”

Other winter initiatives include:

> Nurses from the GP on-call service (Bedoc) are supporting residential and nursing homes to help keep poorly residents at home rather than admit them to hospital.

> A special clinical navigation team assesses patients’ health and social care needs, and signposts them to appropriate services.

> A senior paramedic is based seven days a week at Bedford Hospital to ensure a smooth turnaround of ambulances so that the service can handle more emergency calls

> Pharmacy services and some key therapies at Bedford Hospital are available seven days a week enabling more patients to be discharged over the weekend.