Health chiefs have promised a response after the area’s only accident and emergency department was rated the worst in the country on one particular day recently.
The Royal Blackburn Hospital’s A and E department, and minor care units in East Lancashire were found to be the worst performing in the country on Wednesday, August 2nd according to figures released by NHS England.
But bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust have now revealed that funding has been secured to create extra space in the emergency department.
All health trusts across the country have to report A and E performance daily to the NHS England which then publishes the findings each month.
Government guidelines state that health trusts must aim to treat patients at A and E within four hours.
On the day in question, a total of 569 patients attended A and E, urgent care centres and minor injury Units in East Lancashire.
Of these, 382 patients (67%) were treated, discharged or admitted to hospital within four hours, but a higher than expected number of patients waited longer than four hours.
Dr Damian Riley, medical director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We continue to see significant numbers of patients in our Emergency Department. As well as dealing with the many patients who present with complex medical conditions, the summer holiday months bring their own particular challenges with regards to minor injuries and illness.
“It is important to highlight that this performance relates to one day only. The following day (Thursday), almost nine out of ten patients (87.9%) were treated within four hours, and on Friday 93% of patients were seen within four hours.
“A and E staff work hard in difficult circumstances, with variation in demand from day to day. As a result, meeting the standard continues to be challenging and we recognise that changes are needed.
“Our bid for funding to expand the Emergency department at the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital was recently approved.
“We are currently finalising our plans for how this money will be used to create additional space and a better service for patients. As part of this we plan to open a Respiratory Assessment Unit close to the Emergency Department.”
Other options for patients other than A and E include:
• Urgent Care Centre at Burnley General Hospital, which is open 24 hours
• Minor Injury Units at Rossendale Primary Care Centre and Accrington Victoria Hospital – which are both open 8am – 8pm
• Your local GP practice
• Your local pharmacist
• NHS 111 telephone advice line
• NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk for self-care.