Drop in visits to A&E at Gateshead Health Trust last month

General view of an Accident and Emergency Sign at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. General view of an Accident and Emergency Sign at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
General view of an Accident and Emergency Sign at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.
NHS England figures show 8,678 patients visited A&E at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust in April.

Fewer patients visited A&E at Gateshead Health Trust last month – and attendances were lower than over the same period last year, figures reveal.

NHS England figures show 8,678 patients visited A&E at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust in April.

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That was a drop of 1% on the 8,797 visits recorded during March, and 1% lower than the 8,754 patients seen in April 2022.

The figures show attendances were above the levels seen two years ago – in April 2021, there were 7,390 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 33% were via minor injury units.

Nuffield Trust fellow Jessica Morris said it is positive to see some improvements, which are to be expected after an "incredibly difficult winter period".

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"Three quarters of patients left A&E within the four-hour target in April, up from two thirds in December 2022," she added.

"However, in most cases emergency care services are still struggling to meet targets, so given the massive backlog of planned treatment and the knock-on effect that has on other parts of the NHS, we still have a very long way to go."

Across England, A&E departments received 2 million visits last month.

That was a decrease of 6% compared to March, and a similar number as seen during April 2022.

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The number of people waiting more than 12 hours in A&E departments across England from a decision to admit to actually being admitted stood at 26,900 in April, down 32% from 39,700 in March. The figure hit a record 54,600 in December 2022.

Tim Gardner, assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation, said patients continue to "pay the price" as services and staff are under intense pressure with one in 13 patients spending more than 12 hours in A&E departments.

"Resolving the current pay disputes should help avoid more short-term disruption, so the recent headway made by the Government and trade unions is welcome," he added.

"However, this will not address the underlying challenges facing the health service and those who work in it. The workforce plan, long promised by the Government to address chronic staff shortages and improve retention, must be published."

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NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said strides made in emergency care "in the face of incredible pressure" is testimony to the hard work of frontline staff.

She added: "Ambulance response times are the fastest they have been for almost two years while A&E performance has also improved."

At Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust:

In April:

  • There were 47 booked appointments, up from 36 in March
  • 74% of arrivals were seen within four hours, against an NHS target of 95%
  • 853 patients waited longer than four hours for treatment following a decision to admit – 10% of all arrivals
  • Of those, one was delayed by more than 12 hours