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Greater Manchester faces intervention over A&E performance

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The Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership is subject to a formal intervention from NHS regulators over its poor A&E performance.

Just 83.5% of patients were seen and treated or discharged within four hours during December against a target of 95% and a national average of 84.8%.

As a result a formal meeting was held earlier this month with representatives from NHS Improvement and NHS England, the Greater Manchester urgent and emergency care delivery board chairs and hospital chief executives.

A paper to the Greater Manchester Health & Care Board on 25 January said this meeting would “review the root causes of the recent challenges and issues and… agree improvement actions”.

Responsibility for Greater Manchester’s £6bn health and social care budget was devolved to the partnership in 2016. Under the terms of the agreement A&E performance below 95% but above 85% would be dealt with locally. However, if aggregate performance fell below that the area could face national intervention.

In December performance ranged from 92.2% at Tameside Hospital Foundation Trust to 71.7% at Stockport Foundation Trust. The paper, by Steve Barnard, the partnership’s head of service improvement for urgent and emergency care, blamed poor A&E performance on a “continued increase in the proportion of higher acuity patients being admitted”, leading to longer length of stay, as well as outbreaks of flu and norovirus which have led to bed closures in hospital and in the community.

Mr Barnard said: “GMHSCP are working with NHSI/E and the senior leadership across Greater Manchester to better understand the root causes for reduced performance.

“This will include a review of hospital and community bed, social and primary care capacity this winter compared with similar systems in the North and agreed improvement actions.”

The partnership and NHS England have been contacted for comment.

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