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A safer, faster, better Barts Health

08 March 2017

Record numbers of people are being treated in A&E at the biggest NHS trust, with almost one new patient a minute arriving at the Barts Health group of hospitals.

More than a thousand patients a day are successfully seen and treated within four hours in the trust’s three emergency departments at The Royal London Whipps Cross and Newham hospitals.

Trust figures reported to NHS England show that the number of overall attendances at A&E each month this year is running at up to 2,000 more people than 12 months previously.

This is challenging staff to develop innovative ways of managing demand in our emergency departments to ensure patients are treated safer, faster and better.

Barts Health has not met the national standard to treat 95% of emergency patients within four hours since July 2014. However, four out of five patients are seen and either treated or discharged within the target: January performance was 81.3%.

Alwen Williams, Chief Executive, said: “We are seeing record numbers of patients and our staff are pulling out all the stops to keep them safe. In particular, we are  using new ways to more efficiently assess and treat people so they can see senior clinicians more quickly.

“Even so, we are letting too many patients down, and need to do more to raise our game and ensure the vast majority of people attending our emergency departments are treated promptly within the national standard.”

Despite the decline against the standard, the increasing volume of attendances means we are treating as many – if not sometimes more – patients within four hours than before. For example, we treated almost 67,000 people within four hours over December and January compared to 63,500 two winters ago.

Our emergency pathway improvement programme is building on best practice across the Trust and elsewhere in the NHS to deliver:

  • Faster assessment so patients see a senior doctor as quickly as possible
  • Better management of the flow of patients who are admitted into hospital
  • Safer discharge so treated patients can go home as soon as possible

Jacqueline Totterdell, Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are creating a ‘safer, faster and better Barts’ in our emergency departments, so patients do not have to wait longer than absolutely necessary for treatment. We are determined to get people on the road to recovery quickly, and provide a consistently safe and compassionate service, at any time every day - day or night.”

- ENDS -


Barts Health NHS Trust
With a turnover of £1.4 billion and a workforce of around 16,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The Trust’s five hospitals – St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of East London and beyond.


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