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Region’s NHS working hard to reduce waiting times

North East and North Cumbria trusts are ranked top nationally for performance against key waiting times for A&E and treatment within 18 weeks - according to data which has been released.

Across the North East and North Cumbria the data also shows that the region’s NHS is performing above the national average across most key waiting time standards.

Despite unprecedented pressures, data for July shows that 81.7 per cent of patients spent less than four hours from arrival to transfer, admission or discharge in the region’s A&E departments. This compares to a national average of 77.7 per cent (the national standard all trusts are expected to achieve is 95 per cent).

Two of the region’s trusts have performed particularly well in relation to the A&E four hour waiting time standard. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust ranked first in the country with 92 per cent of patients spending less than four hours in A&E and Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ranked 11th. Emergency departments across the region cared for more than 127,235 people in July alone.

There are also some signs of recovery too with the number of people waiting more than 52 weeks starting to reduce in recent months and the percentage of people being treated within 18 weeks increasing across the North East and North Cumbria. This is despite hospitals and others services including primary care and ambulance services - experiencing one of its busiest summers ever.  

Three of the region’s trusts are also in the top five in the country for the percentage of patients treated within 18 weeks at the end of June.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has ranked first in the country with 88.9 per cent of patients treated within 18 weeks, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust ranked second with 88.6% of patients and South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust ranked fourth with 88.2%. This compares to an England average of 68.8% (and a national standard of 92%). This ranking excludes mental health and specialist NHS trusts.

Dame Jackie Daniel and Lyn Simpson are joint chairs of the North East and North Cumbria Provider Collaborative. The collaborative includes ambulance, hospital/community and mental health trusts across the region who have come together to share their expertise and improve access to services for people across the region.

Dame Jackie Daniel said: “To see trusts in our region performing in the top nationally and our region performing above the England average is a testament to all our front-line teams who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months in the most challenging of circumstances. I would like to express our thanks to each and every one of them. 

“This also reflects the collaborative working across our region too. We have, by working together, managed to maintain a significant amount of activity across all our organisations throughout the pandemic and this joined-up approach will be vital as we move forward in our recovery too.

“However, there is still a way for us to go before we get back to where we were before the pandemic, and we know that many people are waiting longer for treatment than any of us would want, which is frustrating and worrying for them.

“We do still face many challenges as we continue to adhere to strict infection control procedure, address the backlog that has built up, and more recently we have seen unprecedent demand for services too. I would like to reassure people we are doing everything we can to tackle these challenges.”  

Lyn Simpson added: “Our communities are always at the heart of everything we do and we don’t underestimate the personal impact on patients and their loved ones where treatment has been delayed. That’s why we are all committed to working together across all our organisations to prioritise those patients with the most urgent clinical need, those waiting the longest and on ensuring equal access to treatment for those parts of our communities which have been hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Lyn Simpson added: “I would like to thank all our communities for their support for the NHS over the past year. Even doing the simple things makes a difference so please keep it up. Such as letting us know if you can’t make an appointment so we can offer it to someone else, or remembering to wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance when visiting any healthcare settings. Our staff do appreciate it.

“The NHS is here if you need us, so please don’t delay seeking advice and support, but do think about what the best services is for your needs  - whether that’s your pharmacist, GP, 111.nhs.uk, and only if your condition is life threatening, your emergency department.” 

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