17/04/2008

Targets Set For Hospital Fracture Care

Hospital trusts' performance on fracture care has been in focus.

Making 'no bones about it', the NI Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey said he was setting challenging targets: "In August 2007, only 50% fracture patients were treated within 48 hours.

"I set a challenging target that by March 2008, 75% of patients would be treated within 48 hours – the only part of the UK to set such a target," he insisted.

The Minister also examined ambulance response times in Northern Ireland.

He said they have improved significantly in the last 12 months and also that A&E waiting times have been cut.

Giving staff a 'Pat On The Back', Michael McGimpsey, said the situation has moved from 55% of emergency calls being responded to within eight minutes to 68%.

He said that although performance was slightly below the target level of 70%, this was a considerable improvement in light of the 10% increase in demand for ambulance services during the year.

He also revealed that across Northern Ireland, 92% of patients were waiting less than four hours in A&E units by the end of March.

"This is a significant achievement which shows the real benefits of teams in trusts working with focus, sharing improved practice and cooperative working across the health and social care service," he said.

"Most importantly this is leading to a better service for thousands of patients and clients which has been achieved alongside sustained commitment to improving quality and safety and ensuring sound financial management."

Mr McGimpsey also said that staff across the whole health and social care service should be proud of their efforts to meet tough performance targets.

He said the majority of targets had been met and in all cases there had been significant improvements in performance.

There were particularly good performances by trusts in relation to the challenging targets for outpatient assessment, diagnostics and treatment.

The target to reduce waiting times for physiotherapy, occupational therapy and other services provided by Allied Health Professional was met by all trusts. Targets for the resettlement of long-stay patients from learning disability hospitals and for increasing the number of foster carers were also met.

He said: "I know that staff at every level made a huge effort for which they are to be congratulated, particularly during a year of such organisational change. The improvement in performance over the last few years has been remarkable.

"Only two years ago, there were 110,000 people waiting more than 13 weeks for a first outpatient appointment, today this has reduced to only a handful of patients. In the same period the number of patients more than 21 weeks for surgery has fallen from 10,000 to just 56 people.

"The improvement in A&E performance is perhaps the most remarkable - without any major new money, we have all but eliminated long trolley waits."

(BMcC)

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