James Sumner - new chief exec at Leighton Hospital MCHFT

Leighton Hospital has seen a massive 16% increase in patients attending A&E compared to the usual 2% year on year rise, writes Belinda Ryan.

Chief executive James Sumner said the Crewe hospital now had one of the busiest A&E departments nationally, in terms of growth.

And he told members of Cheshire East Council’s scrutiny committee: “If the hospital attendances at A&E stay like they are for the next year or two, we’d be seeing about 100,000 patients a year through that facility.

“I know Leighton, not too long ago, was looking at about 60,000 so there’s just been a huge proportional increase.”

The hospital is due to open its new A&E department in January after receiving £15m of funding.

“That A&E will be circa 400% larger than the current A&E, purpose built and designed,” said Mr Sumner.

He added it would also contain a “fantastic” paediatric department “which children really do deserve after years of having to wait and sit in adult departments late at night in our old A&E”.

The number of cubicles will also increase from eight to 28.

He said the “already excellent critical care facility” has received a cash injection and is being expanded to future proof it.

Councillor David Brown (Con) asked about ambulances being delayed because of handover times at hospitals.

Mr Sumner said: “Ambulance delays are at the highest point they’ve ever been nationally, regionally as well.

“One of the big challenges there is, that an awful lot of the ambulances that should be on the road are actually at the front door of the hospitals trying to offload patients.

“I’m pleased to say at Leighton we’ve got one of the shortest ambulance handover times in Cheshire and Merseyside, despite being one of the busiest and most increased demand on departments.”

He said Leighton, along with Macclesfield Hospital, also has the lowest figures in Cheshire and Merseyside when it comes to patients who spent 12 hours or more in the A&E department.

But one of the biggest challenges facing hospitals is beds being occupied by patients who can’t go home because of the crisis in domiciliary care provision.

Mr Sumner said Leighton has 100 additional beds open, and has had now for 18 months, and has huge numbers of patients who are delayed waiting for domiciliary care provision.

“It’s a huge problem with numerous factors in terms of workforce, in terms of wage inflation,” he said.

“It’s a huge issue for us at the moment so we’re focusing all of our efforts now, in our integrated care work, on how we could crack the challenge around domiciliary care as a system rather than just relying on the council to try and commission it from providers who are struggling.”

One Comment

  1. Is it not impossible that numbers have increased at A&E because it is nigh on impossible to see a GP face to face?

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