3rd Aug, 2020

FRONT PAGE: Election rivals clash as worst A&E results recorded

AN ALARMING one in three accident and emergency patients in the Solihull area waited longer than four hours last month – among the worst NHS A&E performances on record.

New statistics for Birmingham and Solihull NHS Trust reveal only 66 per cent of people who sought care at its major A&E units in October were seen within the national four-hour target.

It is far below the worst national average A&E performance in England since records began.

It is also far below the government waiting target of 95 per cent of patients being dealt with by A&E staff within four hours – which has not been met since July 2015.

Only 83.6 per cent of patients arriving at all types of A&E across England were seen in four hours in October, the lowest-ever performance since the target was introduced in 2004.

In England, 74.5 per cent of people who visited major consultant-led 24-hour A&E departments in England in October were admitted, discharged or transferred within four hours, compared to 77 per cent in September and 83.1 per cent in October last year.

People living in Solihull borough attend the trust’s major A&E units at Heartlands Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

NHS England’s latest statistics showed hospitals also failed to meet other key targets in October – including patient waiting times for cancer care, and non-urgent operations such as cataract removals, hernia repairs, and hip and knee replacements.

Liberal Democrat general election candidate for Solihull Ade Adeyemo hit out, saying: “It is shameful that patients in Solihull are being abandoned, be it waiting for hours for treatment in A&E or for months in pain for routine operations.

“These figures reveal the Conservatives’ dismal record on the NHS. For the past four years, the Tories have utterly failed to invest properly in our health service, leaving local hospitals underfunded, overstretched and understaffed.

“The figures were released just one day after the Conservative candidate claimed to have ‘improved services’ at Solihull Hospital – a hospital that has lost its A&E, the specialist Bruce Burns Ward, and is clinging on to the Ambulance Service with its fingertips.

“The Conservatives’ extreme Brexit would make a dismal situation worse by driving away the EU nurses the NHS desperately needs – 265 of whom are employed in the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.”

Conservative Parliamentary candidate Julian Knight had tweeted last week: “Back in 2013 I started my campaign to improve services at Solihull hospital – some major successes. Now Corbyn with his hair-brained uncosted four-day week risks hurting our NHS..don’t let it happen…remember a vote for ANY other party in Solihull means Corbyn in number ten!”

As we recently reported, a petition to reopen Solihull Hospital’s A&E department, which closed in 2013, was launched in August.

In 2016, Solihull Hospital opened its Urgent Care Centre providing a ‘see and treat’ service for patients with minor illnesses and injuries, without a prior booked appointment.

During Tuesday’s election leaders’ debate on ITV, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn clashed over whether the NHS would be ‘on the table’ in post-Brexit trade negotiations with the USA.

Mr Corbyn claimed there are 33,000 nursing vacancies, while Mr Johnson asserted the Conservatives are putting £34 billion into the NHS, upgrading 20 hospitals and a programme for 40 new hospitals is going ahead. Mr Corbyn countered by claiming they were in fact only reconfiguring six hospitals.

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