26 JUL 2012

Live A&E waiting times at Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells hospitals now online after Greg's intervention

Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone hospitals now provide live online waiting A&E times as part of a package of changes that Greg demanded from Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued a formal warning to the NHS Trust.

In February 2012, the CQC told the NHS Trust that it must make immediate improvements to patient care and waiting times in its A&E Department in Tunbridge Wells Hospital. Greg called for an urgent meeting with its Chief Executive, Glenn Douglas, and asked him to take a number of actions, including making live waiting times at both Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells hospitals available so that people could chose where to go.

This information is now available online at: http://www.mtw.nhs.uk/

Greg commented:

"One of the problems that Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust told me was contributing to the longer waiting times at the A&E department of the Tunbridge Wells Hospital is that demand has been much higher than expected. If I knew that there were long waiting times at Tunbridge Wells, I would definitely consider going to Maidstone instead. Having live information available on waiting times, helps people make this choice so I am delighted that the NHS Trust has agreed to do this. I think other hospitals around the country should follow their example.

"I have also asked the NHS Trust to put weekly figures showing how many people have waited more than 4 hours to be seen in A&E on their website. I think it is important that people can see how well their local A&E department is performing. They haven't done this yet so I will continue to press them on this."

Other changes that Greg asked the NHS Trust to make were:

To invite a team from another A&E department which has an excellent reputation, such as Newcastle, to carry out an independent review of A&E services at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.  Greg said: "Having an external team come in to advise would, I though, be extremely valuable and give everyone more confidence that the NHS Trust is doing everything that it possibly can to improve the situation. I am pleased to say that the NHS Trust invited the National Intervention Team from the Department of Health to come in and carry out a review."

To work with social services to reduce bedblocking.  Greg said: "Although Kent social services work effectively there remain improvements that can be made to ensure that enough beds are available for those who need them."

To improve patient care and welfare.Greg commented: "When people go into A&E it is often under very difficult and stressful circumstances it is even more important that they and their families are made as welcome and comfortable as possible. I was shocked, for example, to hear that people, who had often been waiting hours in the A&E Department, weren't able to get any food or drink after the hospital cafes shut in the evening. People in police custody get treated better than that. The Hospital has now put a vending machine into A&E and patients and their families will be offered food at mealtimes which is a very positive step."

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