Nearly three quarters of people who arrived at accident and emergency in East Lancashire Hospitals Trust were seen within four hours last month – missing the NHS recovery target.

However, the trust said they have experienced significant pressures due to unprecedented demand and they are close to reaching target.

The NHS standard is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen within four hours.

However, the Government announced a two-year plan to stabilise NHS services earlier this year which set a recovery target of 76 per cent of patients being seen within four hours by March 2024.

NHS England figures show there were 20,674 visits to A&E at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in October. Of them, 15,341 were seen within four hours – accounting for 74 per cent of arrivals.

It means East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust fell just short of the recovery target and missed the NHS standard.

At East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, 1,475 patients waited longer than four hours, including 1,196 who were delayed by more than 12 hours.

The overall number of attendances to A&E at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in October was a rise of three per cent on the 20,119 visits recorded during September, and 17 per cent more than the 17,696 patients seen in October 2022.

Chief operating officer and deputy chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Sharon Gilligan, said: “Our services continue to experience unprecedented demand, with us recording some of the highest attendances we have ever seen.

“This unfortunately means that some of our patients may have experienced longer waits than we would like to see. 

"It’s important to acknowledge that our teams are doing their absolute best to see people as quickly and effectively as they can, depending on clinical need.

“This includes working closely with our community-based services to support people at home – preventing the need to come into hospital where possible.

“Please be assured that whilst patients are waiting for a bed, they are being cared for, reviewed, assessed, and supported by colleagues.

“The team could not be doing any more to support patients and their families in an extremely pressured and challenged environment – and I want to thank them for their ongoing hard work and resilience.

“Our focus remains on reducing waiting times and seeing patients as quickly as possible.

“Please help us by only attending urgent or emergency centres if you have medical needs that are life threatening – otherwise NHS 111 has clinicians who can immediately guide you to the most appropriate place for help, including GP surgeries and pharmacies."

The trust also said the target to reach is 76 per cent so they have only just missed it and they have an improvement trajectory which aims to hit the target in March, and they are on track.

Across England, some 70 per cent of patients were seen within four hours in A&Es last month, down from 72 per cent in September.

The figure hit a record low of 65 per cent in December 2022.

The numbers also show 44,655 people waited over 12 hours in A&E departments from a decision to admit to actually being admitted, up 35 per cent from September.

Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, said: "Today’s figures are a stark reminder of the ongoing pressures the NHS is facing, particularly in emergency care with significant demand for ambulances and A&E, as we head into what we are expecting to be another challenging winter in the health service.

"And as ever, the public can help play their part this winter by getting their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations when eligible.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "The NHS is seeing high demand for urgent and emergency care, including record A&E attendances for October, and we are backing it with billions of investment to improve performance."

They added an additional £800 million will be provided this winter to support services.

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