Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero is demanding the Government give King’s Mill Hospital its share of much-needed extra funding to help it avoid another winter A&E crisis.
Gloria has written to the Secretary of State for Health urging him to allocate a slice of the additional cash he is ploughing into A&E departments across the country to Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
She says that without more cash, the hospital will fail to hit waiting targets for accident and emergency, potentially leaving patients waiting to be seen for hours.
She told Chad: “It’s absolutely vital that King’s Mill gets its fair share of funding, especially given the fact the hospital missed the Government’s own A&E waiting time targets last winter.
“As the local MP, the last thing I want to see is a repeat of last year’s A&E winter crisis because it is patients who will pay the price if the Government snubs the trust yet again.
“The staff work incredibly hard in what is an incredibly demanding job and I’m pleased the trust has actually hit the most recent targets.
“However, there should be no hiding away from the fact that they will need all the support they can get to help relieve pressure, otherwise there’s a very real danger that waiting times could take a turn for the worse during the harsh winter months when the hospital will, undoubtedly, see a huge increase in the number of patients.
“If waiting times go up drastically and I hear any reports of patients waiting in corridors like we’ve seen in other hospitals, then I will expect ministers to take responsibility.”
The Government has already distributed £250m to help support the most under-pressure accident and emergency wards, enabling them to create extra beds or hire more doctors and nurses.
Last winter, King’s Mill failed to meet the Government’s target of 95 per cent of A&E patients being seen within four hours in both quarter three and quarter four - but it still missed out on the extra funding.
Now, after last week’s announcement that a further £150m is being made available to hospital trusts, Gloria is demanding the Department of Health give some of this to King’s Mill, which has been placed in special measures this year due to its higher than average mortality rate and other failings.
“I couldn’t believe it when the original announcement was made and I found out that my local hospital had been snubbed and wasn’t going to receive a single penny to help get them through a busy winter,” she said.
“It was a slap in the face for the hospital, staff and the people of Ashfield who rely on it.”
She added: “I’d love to know why the trust missed out in the first place and I’ll be absolutely furious if King’s Mill and the people of Ashfield miss out on Government cash again.”
In preparation for the winter increase in patients, King’s Mill has recruited more nurse practitioners to the Emergency Department and increased consultant numbers - including out of hours and weekend cover.
Dr Ben Owens, service director for Emergency Care at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “Like all Emergency Departments we are preparing for a busy winter period which will see an increase in patients attending the department.
“While we are naturally disappointed not to receive a share of the £250m fund made available by the Department of Health earlier in the year, we hope to be eligible for a share of the £150m of extra emergency funding to further enhance patient care during the winter period.”