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Cornwall's A&E Waiting Times: Worst in the Country

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 4:03pm 24th February 2014 (Updated 4:04pm 24th February 2014)

Pirate FM has seen figures that show Cornwall has the worst A&E waiting times in the country.

NHS England statistics show last week, more than a quarter of patients waited four hours or longer at the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

Health bosses admit that is unacceptable, but say it is a complex problem they're working on together.

Joe McKenna from Health Initiative Cornwall: "It is a direct reflection of the fact that we simply do not have the funding and it's high time the management agreed that this was the prime reason and if it isn't then they owe the people of Cornwall an explanation as to why they are the worst in the country.

"The management have got to come clean and explain to the people of Cornwall why they're having this problem.

"This is all due to the fact that there is insufficient funding in Cornwall and the people who we have elected; it is up to them to make sure that we get the money."

RCHT, NHS Kernow and social care bosses at Cornwall Council have released a joint statement:

"All health and social care partners are prioritising the need to work together to improve patient care.

"Over the past few weeks we have seen improvements in emergency department waiting times but accept that last week there were unacceptable delays for some A&E patients.  

"The factors that affect patient flow through the health and social care system are complex and we acknowledge that no single organisation can provide all of the solutions.

"This is why we are all working together in partnership to create a service which is sustainable."

MP for St Ives and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George, said:

"Whilst the four hour waiting time is a useful measure for clinicians, patients groups and hospital managers, it is not the only nor the best indicator of patient safety or optimum patient outcome.

"Indeed, the four hour waiting time measure may even risk the distortion of clinical priorities to the detriment of patient safety. If clinicians become overly concerned with a four hour breach of a patient who is not in immediate danger to the detriment of another patient who is, or if a decision to discharge or admit to another part of the hospital which is less able to manage symptoms just to avoid a four hour breach results in a patient being put at greater risk than managing them in the Emergency Department the outcomes can be less good for the patient, though they would look better in the tick box paperwork. Is that really what we want for patient care?"

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