Waiting time figures rise at Nottingham A&E department

The number of people who have waited more than four hours for treatment at Nottingham's accident and emergency department has increased sharply.

The figure rose from 280 patients in March and April 2010 to more than 1,500 patients in the same period in 2011.

A Queen's Medical Centre spokesman apologised, saying the winter vomiting bug was one cause for the delays.

Unison spokesman Kieran Williams said the long wait can be "very distressing" for patients.

Elderly patients

"When you are waiting to get into a ward and a comfortable bed, it can be very distressing," Mr Williams said.

He said the government cuts to social services meant the hospital was seeing more elderly patients and this was having an impact on workload.

Dr Nigel Sturrock, the QMC's clinical director for acute medicine, said some beds had had to be closed because of the winter vomiting virus during that period because of infection control problems.

He added the hospital was also seeing more people arrive at the emergency department.

"If you take a snapshot of a few weeks - and it is a bad few weeks - then I agree we have not been seeing people as fast as I would have liked to and I would like to apologise for that."

He said staff were working hard to see patients within four hours but that was not always possible.

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