6:00am Wednesday 14th August 2013
By Tarik Al Rasheed
FEARS have been voiced that Worcestershire could miss out on a national £500 million bailout of struggling A&E departments.
The Government has not yet announced exactly how and where the extra funding will be spent, saying only it will assist A&E departments that are under the most pressure and targeted at “pinch points” in local services.
The Department of Health has said it will announce more details later this month but within the health service there is a feeling that the money will be directed at only a very small number of poor-performing A&Es, with the vast majority missing out.
And Simon Trickett, chief operating officer of South Worcestershire Clin-ical Commissioning Group (CCG), is concerned an upturn in performance in A&E at Worcestershire Royal Hospital could see it miss out.
“The fear for us is that in recent months Worcester-shire Acute Trust has done really well and improved A&E performance substantially,” he said. “We are going to be talking with the trust and making a case for Worcestershire to have some of that funding, although we do recognise that there may be a desire to target it at some of the areas of highest concern in the country.”
Nationally, four-hour A&E waiting time targets were missed between Jan-uary and March. In Worcestershire, the targets were missed for six consecutive months, from November until the end of April. However, since then performance has improved greatly with the four-hour A&E waiting time being met for more than 97 per cent of patients at Wor- cestershire Royal in both May and June.
The Government-impos-ed target is 95 per cent but Worcester Royal’s figure dipped as low as 80 per cent earlier this year. Despite recent improvements and Mr Trickett’s “confidence” that the CCG’s emerging winter plan will help hospitals cope with a seasonal surge in demand, he would welcome any extra financial firepower.
“I know with additional resources we could make a positive impact for pat-ients in Worcestershire this winter,” he said. “I am confident that what we will already be putting in place will go a long way to tackling the pressures that have been identified. But I know that with more money the problems would be easier to solve.”
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