Barts Health invests extra cash to cope with winter

Bosses at Barts Health are investing extra cash to ensure patients get better care at home to avoid going into hospital as figures reveal the Trust failed to meet government targets for A&E.

Their assurance comes in the wake of a report from the London Assembly that shows more than half of the capital’s major A&E departments are faiilng to meet the Government’s four hour target for at least 50 per cent of the time.

Figures show that Barts Health NHS Trust failed to meet the target for 39 weeks out of the 52 from November 11 2012 to November 3 2013. This means the Trust dealt with 92.54 per cent of patients in A&E within four hours. The government’s target is for 95 per cent of A&E patients to be admitted, transferred or discharged within that time.

The London Assembly has expressed concerns that performance will deteriorate further this winter.

A spokeswoman for Barts Health said: “During winter our most vulnerable patients and residents are at greatest risk and are more likely to seek care in our accident an emergency departments. This year we began working in September with local authorities and GPs to put in place a comprehensive plan backed by an extra £12.8m of government money. This investment is already going in to more hospital and community beds, additional staff and more support for patients to get better care and treatment at home and avoid hospitals.

“Our winter plan will be very closely monitored and investment can and will be moved from less successful schemes to more successful ones.”

Bernell Bussue, the London Regional Director for the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The A&E data revealed by the London Assembly raises serious concerns about the resources available to NHS staff in the coming peak winter period.

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“Cuts to nursing posts in both acute and community services have meant that some trusts just haven’t been able to cope with rising demand from patients. Worryingly, the report claims that as much as half of the London A&E bailout funding for the winter will have to be used to plug gaps in non-hospital services.