PERFORMANCE: Southport and Ormskirk saw “considerable deterioration” in its accident and emergency waiting times in January as a result of “unprecedented” challenges to managing its urgent care system, a performance report states.

The proportion of its A&E patients admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours fell to 91.85 per cent that month, below both the national target of 95 per cent and the trust’s overall figure for the year to date of 95.59 per cent.

“The challenge to manage the urgent care system in January 2013 was unprecedented,” the report stated.

“A significant increase in both non-elective admissions and ambulance attendances, alongside the acuity increase seen across the region and short stay beds closed for a period of time due for infection control reasons, caused the considerable deterioration in performance against the 4 hour standard.

“The increase in non-elective admissions will be the 5th month running, with the most significant increase since October 2012.”

It added that the trust’s clinical commissioners had commissioned some research to understand why non-elective admissions had “increased regionally to an unprecedented level”.

The report states that medical admissions via A&E were 24 per cent higher than the expected average, at 948. Ambulance arrivals were 23 per cent higher than the average expected, at 1,631.