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North East A&Es fail to reach waiting time targets

A&Es aim to see 95% of patients in less than four hours. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

All A&Es in the North East have failed to reach waiting time targets to see 95% of patients in less than 4 hours.

New figures for patients seen last week, show they're still under pressure.

Harrogate had been the only hospital to meet the targets over the new year period, although it has now also slipped below at 94 percent.

MORE: Nine of 10 NHS trusts fail to reach A&E targets

New hospital for Stockton 'needed urgently'

There are calls for health authorities to bring forward an urgent plan to build a new, world-class hospital in Stockton-on-Tees.

In October, the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust shelved plans to build a new hospital in Wynyard.

Stockton Council Leader, Cllr Bob Cook (left), and Chair of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Jim Beall Credit: Stockton Council

“It is obvious that the Wynyard plan is dead in the water yet we are still to hear if there is any form of Plan B. It is simply unacceptable that we have had to endure such a prolonged period of uncertainty and indecision. Stockton Council serves 195,000 residents and we believe every single one of them deserves access to a new, world-class hospital within the Borough. Reassurance in the shape of a deliverable plan for a new hospital in Stockton-on-Tees, and with clear timescales, is desperately needed. We are calling on the North Tees and Hartlepool Foundation Trust to provide one as a matter of urgency.”

– Cllr Bob Cook, Leader, Stockton Council

“Ours is an area with some of the worst health inequalities in the country and the fear is that any further indecision will only see those inequalities widen. Since the Council took on public health responsibilities we have made encouraging progress in tackling health issues like cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, weight management, alcohol-related conditions and fuel poverty. Chronic liver disease death rates are falling and childhood obesity rates are now below the national average. We have contributed funding to a project to make more than 850 of our most fuel-poor households more energy efficient. These are significant strides, which makes the current situation especially frustrating. We know there is still much work to do and if we are to build on this promising foundation we need to support and complement service delivery with real investment in top quality hospital and community-based health facilities.”

– Cllr Jim Beall, Chair, Stockton Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board

North's first 'on the scene' blood transfusion

For the first time in the North of England, a blood transfusion has been carried out at the scene of an accident.

GNAAS helicopter

There was a collision on the A1 single carriageway close to the A1167 roundabout at North Road in Berwick - near to Ramparts Business Park - on January 14. Two vehicles collided, a Ford Transit van and a DAF truck

The driver of the van, a man aged in his 50s, suffered head, chest and pelvic injuries. He was anaesthetised by a doctor at the scene and given a blood transfusion. This is the first time this gas happened in the North and can be done now as part of a new blood transport initiative by the Great North Air Ambulance. He was taken to the RVI in Newcastle by air ambulance for treatment where he is in a critical but stable condition.

The driver of the truck wasn't injured.

More on the new blood carrying service.

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Breathalysers for pubs and clubs in York

Nightclubs and bars in York are to be given breathalysers to help stop people who've had too much to drink being allowed in. It's part of a police initiative to reduce alcohol-related trouble in the city. They're also increasing the number of patrols during weekend evenings.

The breathalysers are another tool to help us tackle drink-related disorder and violence. Many people pre-load before going out for the evening and are already heavily intoxicated before they enter a bar. Much of the disorder and violence we are called to deal with is triggered by excessive alcohol intake. Being drunk and out of control also makes people more vulnerable. The breathalysers will support door staff in the difficult job of challenging people who they believe have drunk too much.

– Acting Inspector Andy Godfrey, York Safer Neighbourhood Team

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Inspection of Yorkshire Ambulance Service begins

YAS to be inspected

An official inspection of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service begins today by the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission.

The trust is the third of England's 10 ambulance service trusts to be inspected under radical changes which have been introduced by health watchdog the CQC.

England's Chief Inspector of Hospitals, professor Sir Mike Richards said:

"The new inspections are designed to provide us with a clear picture of the quality of the services, exposing poor or mediocre care as well as highlighting those trusts providing good and excellent care. Ambulance services are also responsible for helping to care for over 5 million patient transport service journeys each year for people who need help attending non emergency pre planned appointments."

People have already been asked to share with inspectors their own experiences of the service. From today they will visit emergency operations centres where 999 calls are received, interviewing paramedics and other staff and talking to organisations that work closely with the trust such as police and fire services.

Blood supplies to be kept onboard Great North Air Ambulance

The Great North Air Ambulance attending a call out in Northumberland Credit: GNAA

Blood for life saving transfusions are to be be kept onboard the Great North Air Ambulance.

The blood will be taken by motorbike from the RVI's blood bank in Newcastle to airports on Teesside and in Cumbria where the helicopters are based.

This is the first time ever that it has been tried in the north of England and it is thought it could save many more lives across the region.

Dr Rachel Hawes Air Ambulance consultant

Friarage paediatric unit to shut early

The opening times of the short-stay paediatric assessment unit (SSPAU) at the Friarage Hospital are being temporarily changed from later this week due to staffing pressures.

Currently the children’s unit opens from 10am to 10pm, but from Saturday 17 January it will close at the earlier time of 8pm Monday to Friday and 5pm on weekends and Bank Holidays.

Doctors insist the impact on patients will be minimal because they say very few children attend the unit after 8pm, or after 5pm on weekends.

The SSPAU opened in October 2014 following changes to children’s and maternity services at the Friarage.

The hospital says that, despite efforts to recruit consultants, the paediatric consultant team has a shortfall staff.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Ginny Birrell said: “Unfortunately we can’t sustain the level of service we currently provide for children so, in the short-term, we’ve taken the decision to reduce our opening times.

“We do not anticipate these changes will impact on our patients, as very few children attend the unit after the times we’re temporarily changing to, but we will be closely monitoring the situation with a further review in April.”

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