FOR THE FIRST time ever, the A&E team at St George’s Hospital, Tooting has seen 100 per cent of patients within a target time of four hours.

The record achievement, which occurred on two consecutive days last week, has been welcomed by the hospital as ‘a sign of fundamental change’ and is seen to be the best indication so far of a major improvement in services at St George’s.

In December 2002, the A&E department was struggling to see 50 per cent of its patients in four hours.

But in the last six months – despite a third more patients coming to the unit on some days – 94 per cent of patients have been treated in that time.

The current target set by the Government is for hospitals to treat 90 per cent of patients in four hours.

By the end of December, the target will be raised to 98 per cent.

A&E lead nurse Elaine Clancy describes the effect the achievement has had on staff:
‘Everyone in the department is delighted. We’ve made tremendous progress over the last two years.

‘We’ve turned the department completely on its head and everything has been re-organised.

‘Added to which, wards and units around the hospital have done an incredible amount of work to improve the way they manage their beds and discharge patients.

‘This has been a whole hospital effort.’

For A&E consultant Dr Narani Sivayoham, achieving the target has been a long time coming:
‘Achieving the target has been difficult and a long time in the making.

‘And maintaining this standard will be a challenge so long as we continue to see a large number of patients come in through the door.

‘But we’re there. We did it. And all the work we have done has led to better patient care.’

The success of the hospital team last week is put down to the culmination of two years’ work by the hospital to improve the speed at which patients are treated.

In A&E that work included the appointment of an additional A&E consultant and nurse consultant, setting up a separate area for treating patients with minor injuries, and a ?90k refurbishment of the Clinical Decision Unit, which re-opened last month with two extra beds.

Commenting on the team’s performance, hospital chief executive Peter Homa said:
‘In order to meet the target, the whole way we manage patients throughout the hospital has changed.

‘The way we use inpatient beds, our discharge planning, our porters and a huge range of other factors are involved. So, in fact, achieving this “A&E target” is a tribute to the whole Trust.

‘We all know we’re not going to see every A&E patient within four hours every day from now on – of course we won’t.

‘Our performance will continue to vary according to this and a range of other measures from day to day.

‘But I think this is a sign of fundamental change at St George’s.’

Notes to editors

  1. For more information, please contact Tim Jones, Head of Communications at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on 020 8725 5151 or