Anyone who has had the misfortune to visit an A&E department knows that it can be a dismal time (and not just because of the ailment or injury that required them to attend in the first place).
Long delays, crowded waiting rooms, staff under extreme pressure and, on occasions, inconsiderate members of the public, can all contribute to a stressful and upsetting experience.
And the problem can be aggravated in winter when cold, inclement weather takes its toll.
The YEP reports today how both of Leeds’s main hospitals missed the national four-hour waiting time target in December.
St James’s Hospital fell well below, seeing only 84 per cent of patients (the national guideline is 95 per cent) while Leeds General Infirmary was just one per cent off the standard.
The figures are just figures, of course. And we appreciate how hard the hospitals are working to meet the guidelines which, at certain times of the year, must seem nigh on impossible.
These statistics should not detract from the incredible efforts of staff who work flat out to make sure patients receive treatment with care and efficiency, come day, night, Christmas, New Year, so on and so forth; 24 hours a day, seven days a week..
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has warned that it still faces challenges to meet demand and has blamed “extremely high attendances” for the delays.
The responsibility lies with us to help and support our hospital staff by using A&E only when we really need it.