HEALTH bosses are concerned after healthcare providers in Swindon missed waiting time targets.

Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group, which pays for the healthcare of 232,000 people in Swindon and Shrivenham, revealed the missed targets in its end-of-year report, published this week.

One in 10 patients (13.4 per cent) were left waiting for more than four hours in A&E last year (2016/17). The national target set by NHS England is for 95 per cent of patients to be seen by A&E doctors within four hours. The Great Western Hospital failed to meet the four-hour target every single month last year.

The CCG’s annual report also showed that a third of patients (31 per cent) were forced to wait for more than 18 weeks from being referred by a GP or nurse to receiving specialist treatment.

The target is for 90 per cent of patients to be treated within 18 weeks of being referred, where their treatment involves being admitted to hospital.

Swindon CCG bosses told audience members at their annual general meeting in the town centre on Thursday that they had had a ‘challenging’ year and would continue to work with their partners in the hospital, ambulance trust and council to improve urgent care performance.

‘Bed blocking’ was another area of concern, the CCG said. Last year, 7.3 per cent of all bed days were taken up by people waiting to be sent home or for care elsewhere – but who were prevented from doing so. The figure is double the national target of 3.5 per cent.

The CCG said that growing delays for patients who live outside Swindon were behind the high bed-blocking figures.

Nicki Millin, accountable officer at Swindon CCG, said: “There are a number of patients who are waiting at hospital for longer than they need to. Sometimes it may be that you need a specialist placement. Sometimes it may be that there are a lot of people waiting to go at the same time.”

The CCG said the pressures on urgent care in Swindon mirrored challenges across the country.

Despite that, the CCG said it had enjoyed significant successes in the past year.

Gill May, executive nurse, pointed to the reduction in the overall amount of antibiotics prescribed – and particularly the antibiotic drugs that can cause adverse effects, such as the diarrhoea-causing clostridium difficile infection.

The number of serious incidents have dropped from 96 in 2015/16 to 44 in the last year, she said.

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