Emergency department waiting times: NHS announces trial sites for new targets

A&E staff will be testing one-hour treatment target for the most critical presentations 

A&E staff will be testing one-hour treatment target for the most critical presentations 

Picture: Southwest News Service

Fourteen NHS hospital trusts will test the emergency treatment targets that are expected replace the current four-hour regime.

NHS England last month announced its intention to replace its current system with a one-hour target for the most serious cases.

Under the new system, no one presenting at emergency departments (EDs) with conditions such as heart attack, stroke, mental health crisis or sepsis should wait longer than an hour for treatment.

Assessment waiting times

The test hospitals will also be looking at how quickly all patients presenting at EDs – whatever their condition – should be assessed by a suitably qualified professional, such as a senior nurse. NHS England told Nursing Standard this is expected to be within 15 to 30 minutes of arrival.

Hospitals at the 14 trusts will begin trialling the new targets from May.

The fresh targets have drawn criticism from the RCN, with acting general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair stating the high level of nurse vacancies in the NHS will make them difficult to achieve.

NHS England said information gathered from the trial sites will inform the final recommendations ahead of implementation in spring next year.  

The four-hour target was introduced in 2004 but has not been met since July 2015.

NHS England’s emergency department test sites

  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust
  • Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
  • West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust


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