Since the closure of two A&E units, patients based in west London experience the longest waits for treatment.
The three closest hospitals are under tremendous pressure, which has resulted in hundreds of patients waiting longer than the NHS target of four hours.
The closing of casualty units at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith has come under criticism as it has placed ‘unbearable pressure’ on other hospitals and patient care is suffering.
NHS figures have revealed that the trust managing Ealing and Northwick Park hospitals had the worst A&E performance during the last two weeks of October. During the week to October 19, it attended to 67.8% of patients within four hours at its main A&E departments, compared to the target of 95%. During the next week, it reached 73.3%.
During the two-week period, 1455 patients were forced to wait in excess of four hours to be seen.
Problems were also experienced at West Middlesex Hospital in Isleworth. Since the A&E closures, around 947 patients have had to wait more than four hours, which is almost double the number for the same period during the previous year.
Imperial College NHS Trust, which manages Charing Cross and St Mary’s, also saw a decline in performance last month, falling to 82% in during one week.
The second phase of the Shaping A Healthier Future changes includes Charing Cross A&E not receiving blue light emergency ambulances and the axing of Ealing’s A&E.
A joint alert has been issued by Richmond and Hounslow councils over the delays at West Middlesex.
A spokesperson for London North West Hospitals Trust, which manages Ealing and Northwick Park, said the challenges they are facing in their A&E department are similar to what other London trusts are facing. According to the spokesperson, actions are in place to improve their performance.
A spokesperson from West Middlesex Hospital, said that a general increase in the demand for emergency services has been experienced, but it is due to a seasonal increase, with no direct link to the recent local closures.
Image Credit: Mark Hillary