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Thousands of A&E patients waiting four or more hours in Kent NHS hospitals

ByRebecca Tuffin

More than 9,000 patients waited four or more hours to be seen at A&E departments at Kent hospitals in one month.

Across the county, 56,906 people visited such departments last month, meaning 16% waited longer than the government’s four hour target.

At Medway NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, 27% of people who went into the department had to wait four or more hours - 2,783 out of a total 10,404.

More than 9,000 patients waited four or more hours to be seen at A&E last month
More than 9,000 patients waited four or more hours to be seen at A&E last month

This is the eighth highest figure in England and almost three times higher than it was at the hospital this time last year.

At East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the William Harvey in Ashford, and the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, saw 3,604 people spend four or more hours in A&E out of 19,377 - which equates to 19%.

In June last year that figure was just 17%. The trust manages others sites, which do not have A&E departments.

The government has a four hour target for A&E departments across the country
The government has a four hour target for A&E departments across the country

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust performed worse than this time last year, with the proportion of patients waiting four or more hours almost doubling from 9% to 16%.

Last month 1,809 people out of 11,118 waited over the four hours at Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford the trust's single A&E location.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, which manages Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells hospitals performed best, with just 6% of patients waiting more than four hours over the month-long period.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust has the highest proportion of people waiting more than four hours to be seen
Medway NHS Foundation Trust has the highest proportion of people waiting more than four hours to be seen

This is a vast improvement on June last year, which saw 19% spending at least four hours in the department.

Harvey McEnroe, chief operating officer at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Like many hospitals, we experience a high number of people coming to our emergency department and I would like to apologise to any patients who have faced a longer wait for treatment in recent weeks.

Medway Maritime Hospital homes the A&E department for Medway NHS Foundation Trust
Medway Maritime Hospital homes the A&E department for Medway NHS Foundation Trust

"At Medway, our emergency department streams minor injuries and conditions to other services on our site such as the GP-led MedOCC service.

"Unfortunately, recently, the standard of performance in MedOCC is not to the level we would expect and this has impacted upon our overall performance but we are working to address these issues.

"We are working to get patients home more quickly when they are ready to leave us, as better patient flow frees up beds for new arrivals and reduces pressure in the A&E department.

"We have made some positive progress in this area, with patients in Medway recently seeing the shortest waiting times for transfers of care in the south east.

"The recent opening of our same day emergency care centre will also ultimately assist with A&E performance.

"However, we know we still have more to do to consistently provide patients with the emergency care they deserve, and this remains our main focus."

Statistics on A&E attendances and emergency admissions are published monthly by NHS England and are open for the public to view.

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Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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