Fewer patients visited A&E at Gateshead Health Trust last month – but attendances were higher than over the same period last year, figures reveal.
NHS England figures show 8,014 patients visited A&E at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust in February.
That was a drop of 6% on the 8,552 visits recorded during January, but 10% more than the 7,257 patients seen in February 2022.
The figures show attendances were above the levels seen two years ago – in February 2021, there were 5,224 visits to A&E departments run by Gateshead Health Trust.
The majority of attendances last month were via major A&E departments – those with full resuscitation equipment and 24-hour consultant-led care – while 34% were via minor injury units.
Across England, A&E departments received 1.9 million visits last month.
That was a decrease of 3% compared to January, but 5% more than the 1.8 million seen during February.
The number of people waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments from a decision to admit to actually being admitted stood at 34,976 in February, down 18% from 42,735 in January and down 36% from a record 54,532 in December 2022.
Dr Tim Cooksley, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said: "This is another month of damning performance data which shows NHS urgent and emergency care provision is under significant strain – which is the case in all four home nations – and this is increasingly causing harm to patients.
"Timely, high-quality patient care is often not being delivered due to overcrowding in emergency departments and acute medical units."
Dr Cooksley continued: "The number of 12 hours waits or more in England’s emergency departments is gravely concerning. Acute medical care is now routinely delivered by teams in emergency departments rather than in optimal environments and this poses a significant risk to patients, particularly older patients who bear the brunt of this deteriorating situation.
"This situation is driven by workforce and capacity constraints and, while the Covid-19 pandemic accentuated and arguably expedited the crisis, the decline has been developing over the last decade. It requires urgent action to ensure it has reached its nadir."
Responding to the figures, Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director for England, said pressures remained high, with staff facing "significant levels of respiratory illness in hospital, which came at the same time as disruption from industrial action".
Professor Powis said: "Ambulance response times in February for the most serious callouts sustained improvements seen in January. This is a huge achievement. We are extremely grateful for the enormous efforts from staff, who we know are tired, after an extremely challenging few months."
"As ever, we will do all we can to limit the impact to patients," he added.
At Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust:
- There were 45 booked appointments, down from 47 in January
- 72% of arrivals were seen within four hours, against an NHS target of 95%
- 874 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit – 11% of patients
- Of those, 40 were delayed by more than 12 hours