Two months after A&E departments at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals were downgraded into Urgent Care Centres, we've had a press release from the London Assembly Labour group telling us that A&E waiting times at North West London NHS Trust recently became the less-than-proud owner of the 'worst performer in England' badge.
In the week ending 19 October, only 67.8% of patients needing 'proper' A&E care were seen within four hours (the government's target is 95%). The following week, the trust saw 73.3% of A&E patients within four hours. No other NHS trust performed so poorly in that period. However, we wanted to see what the trust's figures were like before Hammersmith and Central Middlesex were downgraded. We looked at the data for week ending 7 September, the last full week before the closures, and saw that NW London was still only managing to see 75.5% of A&E patients within four hours (two other trusts performed worse). The trust has clearly been having problems for some time.
We actually found something more alarming in the figures Labour sent us. Of the 20 worst performing NHS trusts for A&E patient waiting times, five were in London w/e 19 October (NW London; Barking, Havering and Redbridge on 75.5%, Hillingdon on 81.1%, Imperial on 82.5% and Lewisham and Greenwich on 83.1%) and four were in London w/e 26 October (NW London; Barking, Havering and Redbridge on 77.9%, Hillingdon on 79.3% and Lewisham and Greenwich on 82.8%).
For the most recent week for which information is available (w/e 2 November), only three London NHS trusts hit the government's 95% target: Homerton, Kingston and University College London. Five trusts reached the target for the w/e 7 September: Homerton, Kingston, North Middlesex, St George's and Whittington (Guy's and St Thomas's nearly made it with 94.9%). And this is before the weather turns really cold and flu season stretches capacity further. London has 19 NHS trusts with emergency units: when it comes to A&E, this really is looking like a postcode lottery.