PATIENTS are waiting too long to receive treatment from an A&E department, new figures have shown.
Only 94% of patients at the Accident & Emergency department at Leighton Hospital are being seen within four hours of arrival, compared to a Government target of 98%. As a result, the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust is likely to miss out on a £100,000 quarterly incentive payment for not hitting targets.
The figures were released as part of a performance assessment review which looks at the performance of Mid Cheshire's hospitals, Leighton in Crewe and Northwich Infirmary.
Simon Yates, chief executive of Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: 'With regards to the A&E figures we are really struggling at the moment. That has been quite difficult as there has been an increase of 10% in people being admitted to A&E. This we can put down to an increase in the elderly population and more people living in difficult conditions.
'One of the ways we hope to stop people having to come into hospital in the first place is to provide more treatment in the home, such as elderly people in nursing homes, we can get hit teams into homes to treat them there.'
On a more positive note the report found that no patients from the Mid Cheshire area are having to wait more than nine months for day treatment at the hospitals they are referred to, which could be Leighton or Northwich or could be around the North West and further afield, meaning Government targets have been reached.
There were still 302 patients waiting between six and nine months to receive treatment at hospitals in Northwich or Crewe, while 874 patients were waiting between three and six months. Nearly 2,000 people were waiting up to three months for treatment at the two hospitals.
Cancer waiting times have also improved. In December 99% of patients with urgent cancer referrals were seen within two weeks, the Government target is 100%. Patients with breast, testicular and acute leukaemia cancer should be guaranteed a maximum of one month's wait from an urgent GP referral to treatment, and in December 37 out of 40 patients were treated within that time scale.
The figures also show that nearly all of patients listed for day case surgery on Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust's books were able to say when they would like to go in for treatment.
Mid Cheshire has also hit Government targets for outpatient appointments, with no-one waiting more than 17 weeks.
Mr Yates added: 'We are more or less where we expected to be this year.
'There are fewer people on waiting lists than we expected to have.'