Longer waits in A&E over the cold snap

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PRESSURES of winter weather led to more people waiting over four hours to be seen in A&E.

The board at NHS Calderdale heard there had been “unprecedented levels of demand and adverse weather conditions” at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust since late November.

Government targets demand 95 per cent of people are assessed within four hours but the board heard this had dropped to 93.7 per cent in December. However the trust still hit the 95 per cent target for the quarter.

The Christmas period in particular witnessed some of the highest levels of attendance to A&E – and significantly greater than the same period last year.

Non-executive director Keith Wright said: “I’m disappointed that we have dropped below 95 per cent. These are real people sitting in A&E for longer than four hours. Most people don’t really want to be there.

“Is there anything we can do to strengthen the working arrangments?

“I think this is an important area that we need to get on top of very quickly.”

Debbie Graham, associate director of business intelligence, said a full review of performance during winter months had taken place, concluding with a number of action points to be looked into by the Finance and Performance Committee.

The board also heard there are talks for a pilot scheme placing staff in A&E with the specific job of helping people get home as there tend to be large numbers of people in A&E waiting for someone to pick them up.

These staff would take people home and make sure they were settled.