A&E departments: Birmingham hospital has one of the worst waiting times in England

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A Birmingham hospital was the second worst in the country for A&E wating times - with 46% of patients waiting longer than four hours

Three hospitals in Birmingham failed to hit NHS A&E waiting time targets in May, 2022.

Overall, more than 100 hospitals in England failed to hit the targets, resulting in over half a million patients waiting four hours or longer for emergency care.

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The NHS benchmark is for at least 95% of patients attending A&E to be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours but NHS England data shows 116 hospitals, out of 203, failed to hit the target in May.

As a result 525,681 ill or injured attendees waited four hours or longer, representing over a quarter (27%) of all attendees.

Three Birmingham hospitals, including University Hospitals Birmingham, Sandwell And West Birmingham Hospital and the Birmingham Women’s And Children’s NHS Foundation Trust all failed to hit the target.

And the figures show that the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust was the second worst in the country for A&E waiting times in May, with just over half of attendees (54%) waiting less than four hours before being admitted, transferred or discharged.

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At University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 45.4% of A&E attendances waited four hours or longer. At University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 45.4% of A&E attendances waited four hours or longer.
At University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust 45.4% of A&E attendances waited four hours or longer. | goodluz - stock.adobe.com

The analysis comes as emergency departments continue to work under acute strain due to coronavirus backlogs.

In total emergency departments dealt with 2.2 million attendances in May, an 8% increase on April’s figures and a 5% increase on May 2021 figures.

The total number of A&E attendances were also the highest in May since current records began in 2011.

Waiting times vary widely across the country though and not all failed to hit the target in May.

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In total 61 hospitals had 95% or more of A&E attendees admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours.

What do the figures show for Birmingham?

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust - Good Hope Hospital, Heartlands Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Solihull Hospital

At University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, 45.4% of A&E attendances waited four hours or longer.

This means out of 34,275 people who attended the hospital’s A&E department in May, 15,546 waited four hours or longer.

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The hospital had the second longest waiting times for patients in May, second only to Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (51.1%).

18,729 attendees had waited less than four hours in May (54.6%).

Sandwell And West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust - City Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital

At Sandwell And West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, 26.0% of A&E attendances waited four hours or longer.

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This means out of 28,153 people who atteneded A&E, 20,824 were discharged in less than four hours from admission, while 7,329 waited four hours or longer.

The hospital had the 73rd worst A&E waiting times in the country in May.

Birmingham Women's And Children's NHS Foundation Trust - Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital

And at the Birmingham Women's And Children's NHS Foundation Trust, 10.9% of A&E attendances waited four hours or longer.

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Out of 5,848 attendances, this means 89.1% (5,209) were discharged or transferred in less than four hours from admission.

The hospital had the 109th worst A&E waiting times in the country in May.

Paulette HamiltonPaulette Hamilton
Paulette Hamilton | JPI

What’s been said about the figures?

Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton, a former nurse and the ex Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care on Birmingham City Council, said the figures are concerning.

Speaking to BirminghamWorld, the MP, said: ““The figures are shocking. It’s unacceptable for patients to be left waiting, often in pain and distress, for more than four hours in A&E for emergency care.“After a decade of Tory mismanagement of our NHS, patients in Birmingham and across the country have been failed by this incompetent government.“The longer we give the Conservatives the longer patients will wait.”

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She added: “I think with UHB, also (University Hospitals Birmingham) there are a number of issues there. With Covid and the issues around Covid, that was really creating a deal of problems at UHB. I’m sad that the figures are so bad, and I do know that there needs to be some critical thinking about how it can be addressed.

“I know that all of the hospitals in the area are trying to work together to address some of these issues, and with a great deal of strategic thinking hopefully they will improve on the figures, but you have to consider a number of issues facing these hospitals, including staff levels, Covid , and social care. But you also have to consider the finances of these hospitals, so there’s a lot of aspects to take into consideration.

“I also know there needs to be some critical thinking with government ministers on how these figures can improve, but I also know the board at UHB will be looking towards and working hard on how they can improve these very dire figures.”

Queen Elizabeth Hospital BirminghamQueen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham | SWNS

What has the university said about the emergency department’s waiting times?

A spokesperson for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our A&E teams and colleagues across our hospitals are working very hard to care for patients given the sustained high level of demand for our services, and the continuing impact of COVID-19.

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“We are also working to create new ward capacity on all hospital sites, recruit additional staff, and introduce new treatment pathways, to help speed-up care.

“A&E is for the most urgent and life-threatening emergencies only; we encourage people to contact NHS 111 online, or by phone, when they need help for a medical issue that is less serious.”

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