HOSPITAL bosses in Sunderland have failed to meet Government targets after A&E waiting times fell bellow the four-hour limit.
During the Christmas week, which ended on December 28, 2,579 patients turned up at Sunderland Royal’s A&E department for treatment.
However, only 86.6 per cent of those were transferred, admitted or discharged within four hours – which is below the Government’s requirement of 95 per cent.
Today, hospital bosses have defended the figures, saying they believe the Royal’s emergency ward to be one of the best in the North East.
The best performing trust regionally was Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with 94 per cent of patients being taken care of within the time limit.
Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust’s figure stood at 91.3 per cent, but South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust is at 78 per cent,
During the last financial quarter, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s (CHSNFT) average fared slightly better at 90.9 per cent.
Nationally, the figures are the lowest within the last 10 years.
Health minister Norman Lamb said: “We rightly have the toughest targets in the developed world. We are not meeting them.
“We hear lots of reports from A&E departments of older people particularly turning up more ill than they have in the past.”
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson blasted the Coalition Government as the new statistics were revealed.
Mrs Hodgson said: “People around here always knew you couldn’t trust the Tories with the NHS, and they’ve proved it once again.
“Thanks to them, nearly 350 people a week had to wait more than four hours at Sunderland A&E over the last three months.”
A spokesman for CHSNFT said: “Getting patients through the system is an absolute priority but inevitably at this time of year, and with the current pressures on the service, emergency departments are all dealing with increased numbers.
“As well as normal winter pressures, a growing elderly population with multiple long-term conditions present staff with major challenges.
“We believe however that we have one of the best emergency care teams in the region – the trust is constantly monitoring patient flows and, with our local partners, working to ensure that admissions are handled as quickly and effectively as possible.”