East Kent’s emergency waiting times are fourth ‘most-improved’ in England

Year-end figures released by East Kent Hospitals show emergency department waiting times are improving for east Kent patients, despite a rise in the number of people needing emergency treatment.

The improvement in East Kent’s ‘Type 1’ waits (waits in an emergency department) in the last year is the fourth best improvement in England.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 13,362 more people attended the Trust’s emergency departments and minor injuries units than in the previous year, an increase of 6.4 per cent.

In total, staff treated 220,728 people over that period, or 605 people a day.

Despite the rise in the number of people using the service, the Trust’s performance against the national waiting time standard of patients being seen, treated, admitted to a hospital bed or discharged within four hours has improved.

The Trust’s ‘Type 1’ performance has improved by 8.2% from 2017/18 to 2018/19 – the fourth best improvement in England.

Its ‘overall’ performance (patients being seen in both the emergency departments and the minor injuries units) has improved by 3.4%.

“Urgent care staff have worked incredibly hard this year to improve waiting times for patients, and I would like to thank them for their hard work,” said Susan Acott, East Kent Hospitals Chief Executive.

“We have more work to do to continue to reduce the waiting times for patients, but this year’s steady improvement is encouraging.”

East Kent Hospitals secured £6.42m in national funding for new observation wards at its emergency departments at William Harvey Hospital in Ashford and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate last September, and invested £13.5m to increase staffing and expand services ahead of the winter.

Between December 2018 and March 2019, 73,136 people attended its emergency departments and minor injury units – 6,261 more than in the same period the previous year.

Nonetheless, the teams increased the overall percentage of these patients being cared for within the four-hour standard from 71.9% last winter to 76.5% this winter.