The A&E departments at Epsom and St Helier hospitals have been busier than ever in the past year, with one patient being seen every four minutes.

A total of 137,000 patients were seen and treated in 2011-12, 4,000 more than in the previous year.

Epsom Hospital saw more than 55,300 patients - up two per cent on 2010-11, while 81,739 people were seen and treated in the A&E and urgent care centre at St Helier, up three per cent.

Dr Carole-Ann Johnson, the trust's leading A&E consultant said: "We are seeing a year-on-year increase in the number of people using our A&Es, and we are treating almost 14,000 more people a year than we did just five years ago. During 2011-12, we saw one patient every four minutes - and that means 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. However, our commitment remains exactly the same: to give every single patient the very best possible care."

2011-12 saw a number of significant improvements for patients requiring urgent or emergency treatment at the hospitals.

In August 2011, a new urgent care centre opened at St Helier, where people with minor illnesses and less serious injuries now receive treatment, allowing specialist A&E staff to focus on more serious, life-threatening conditions.

In March 2012, the trust received a £5.5 million grant from the Department of Health to expand the service.

In September 2011, Epsom and St Helier hospitals announced an investment of more than £740,000 to fund an additional six consultants, three at each site, in the acute medical units, which work closely with the A&E departments and allow urgent assessment of seriously ill patients as soon as they are admitted to hospital.

During 2011-12, 96.9 per cent of patients were seen, treated, admitted or discharged from A&E within a maximum of four hours, which is above the national standard of 95%.

Dr Johnson added: "Despite the fact we are seeing more people in our A&E departments, we are continuing to treat them as quickly as possible, and meeting the key standards set by the Government."

For more information about the performance of the A&E departments at Epsom and St Helier hsopitals, visit