MORE doctors and nurses are being recruited and more space will be created in an attempt to solve Southend Hospital’s A&E crisis by September.
The hospital, which has regularly failed to meet A&E targets since 2012, has drawn up an 11-point action plan to improve waiting times.
A new emergency care boss, more nurses and an on-site GP have already had an effect and the department has met the Government target of treating 95 per cent of patients within four hours every week since the start of May.
Draft plans, set to be finalised tomorrow, include a new “frailty unit” on the Princess Anne ward, more space in the acute medical ward for patients who need treatment, but not a bed, and a remodelling of the emergency department to create more space.
Jon Findlay, the hospital’s chief operating officer, said: “Our performance in A&E has significantly improved in May and we achieved the 95 per cent target for the whole month.
“This performance has continued into June despite not seeing the traditional ‘drop’ in the number of attendances during the summer months.
“The GP assessment area, which sees walk-in patients and also streams patients to majors, minors or other GP services as appropriate, has been in place since April and is working well.”
The hospital has already filled all “middle-grade” vacancies and has recruited 18 Spanish nurses, three of whom will work in A&E, a new director of emergency care and long-term locums to cover key clinical posts.
Its new plan, which has been developed with an urgent care working group made up of the leaders of healthcare organisations and councils in south Essex, will be sent to health sector regulator Monitor and NHS England for approval.
Dr Paul Husselbee, clinical chief officer for Southend Clinical Commissioning Group’s, which is responsible for the town’s healthcare, said: “Over the past two months, health system partners have put in place a number of actions to support Southend Hospital to ensure patients are seen and treated in A&E in a timely way.
“However, the emergency care system in Southend remains fragile and the hospital emergency care improvement plan sets out more complex actions which will take longer to implement but will bring long-term stability to the system.”