PERFORMANCE: A shortage of emergency medicine specialty registrars is one of the factors in poor A&E performance at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. A report to the trust board said that there was a 60 per cent vacancy rate for these posts across the trust. Consultants are working nights, locum doctors are being employed, new advanced nurse practitioners recruited and additional consultants sought.

But despite these efforts the trust is still struggling with the four hour A&E standard. Its year to date performance is 94.5 per cent, and its performance in quarter four to date is just 92.5 per cent. In December compliance was just 80 per cent at St James University Hospital.

And staffing issues show little sign of improving dramatically, despite all of these measures.”‘There is a significant risk that the emergency departments will be unable to fill all consultant vacancies in the short to medium term,” the report adds.

The trust has opened 48 extra beds to cope with the influx of patients during the winter but is still seeing four hour breaches.