The Northumberland Emergency Hospital has achieved its wait time performance target for emergencies and administration to this winter for the first time in three years.
In the third quarter of this year, from October to December, Northumbria Healthcare's NHS Foundation Trust reached the threshold for 95% of ED patients visited within four hours.
This evolution follows a decent performance and above the objectives of the first and second quarters of this year, reflecting a general improvement trend compared to 2017-18 and 2016-17.
Monthly figures have fluctuated, December exceeding the 95% mark, which is in the context of the 10,000 additional patients registered so far in 2018-2019, representing an increase of 7.4%.
At the Northumberland County Council Health and Wellness Committee meeting last Tuesday (January 8th), during an update of winter planning, it was also explained how the "reset days" of December had worked well for hospitals in the region.
On December 12 and 13, staff focused solely on clinical work that could add value, resulting in a 73% decline in the number of bed occupants. Nationally, a goal of less than 85% has been set this winter to help NHS trusts cope with the added pressures of winter.
A couple of weeks of reset this month will probably not have as much impact, as all the patients who can return home have already done so, have been advised advisors.
However, despite the good news, Northumbria Healthcare's operations manager, Helen Ray, acknowledged that this winter was not yet very harsh and that the worst could still be ahead.
In addition, there are still several risks, including staff shortages, home care provision and patient transfers, and work is underway to mitigate them.
The lack of nurses remains a concern, North Tyneside being described as a "hot spot", although staffing has always been at a safe level, while the length of stay at the Specialist Emergency Hospital from Northumbria to Cramlington is "drifting".
Ambulance flows also remain a problem, with up to 130 visits a day in Northumbria. "Yesterday (Monday, January 7), we had extremely long and unacceptable expectations," said Ms. Ray.
In the primary health care sector, the NHS Northumberland GCC organized an additional 1,000 GP appointments in overtime in December, with approximately 700 appointments made. However, no additional appointments were used on Sunday, December 23 and 30.
Ben O & Connell, Reporting Service on Local Democracy