Increase in use of St Helier Hospital's under-threat A&E
St Helier Hospital has released figures showing the rise in use of its under-threat accident and emergency (A&E) department.
The hospital’s A&E and urgent care centre had their busiest ever year in 2011-12, treating 81,739 patients, a rise of three per cent on the previous year.
The figures were released ahead of recommendations next month on which south west London hospital will lose it’s maternity and A&E departments.
The NHS Better Services Better Value Review will likely see one of Kingston, Croydon or St Helier hospitals lose both the frontline services.
Dr Carole-Ann Johnson, an A&E consultant at Epsom and St Helier hospitals, 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."
In August last year, 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.
Last month, the hospital's NHS trust received a £5.5 million grant from the Department of Health to expand the service, that would remain if St Helier loses it’s A&E.
Last year it funded an extra three consultants at an acute medical unit linked to St Helier A&E which allows urgent assessment of seriously ill patients as soon as they are admitted to hospital.
St Helier has the smallest A&E of the hospitals under threat. In 2010-11, Croydon treated 106,797 patients and Kingston 82,674.