News

Long waits at North Mid A&E caused by ‘unrelenting demand’

Waiting times for treatment well below national targets, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

North Middlesex University Hospital
North Middlesex University Hospital

One third of accident and emergency (A&E) patients had to wait longer than four hours to be treated at North Middlesex University Hospital last month – well below the national target.

NHS figures show that in February only around two-thirds (66.8%) of A&E patients at North Mid were discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours of arrival – significantly below the national 95% target, as well as the England average of 73.3%.

North Mid’s A&E department is one of the busiest in London, seeing around 180,000 adults and children each year. The latest figures show there were 15,051 A&E admissions during February, significantly higher than the 10,758 figure recorded in February 2021, when 80.3% were seen within four hours.

North Mid was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the peak of the first wave, the hospital had more than 250 coronavirus patients and, in the second wave, was at one point treating more than 300 people with coronavirus. At the height of the Omicron wave the figure was lower, peaking at a total of 150 Covid-19 patients in hospital on 7th January this year.

The trust has also been affected by staff absences, with more than 200 staff off at one moment in time because of Covid-related issues, falling to “well below 100 staff” in January, according to the trust’s chief executive Dr Nnenna Osuji.


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Dr Nnenna Osuji, chief executive of North Mid, said: “Like many other hospitals around the country, North Mid is seeing significant demand for emergency care. Our staff are working extremely hard, under lots of pressure, to keep people safe and give them the treatment they need, and I want to emphasise how proud I am of the whole North Mid team – from the clinicians in our A&E department to all the support services – for how they are responding to this unrelenting demand.

“Across north central London, all parts of the NHS are working in close partnership to manage services safely, and it’s vital that people think carefully about their contribution to helping the NHS keep them and their communities safe. The simplest way is to ‘think 111 first’. By phone at 111, or online at 111.nhs.uk, NHS 111 can direct you to the most appropriate alternative NHS service, such as a pharmacist or GP, or even book you a slot in A&E if that’s the place that’s right for you.”

As well as long waits at A&E, North Mid has been coping with a backlog of patients waiting for care and referrals, which has largely built up during the last two years since the pandemic began.


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