Woolwich QE Hospital: Highest ever number of A&E patients

Woolwich’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital saw its ever highest daily number of A&E patients in Monday this week.

The figure was revealed by the head of Woolwich and Lewisham NHS Trust. Ben Travis stated:

“The pressure on our services has felt relentless. And yesterday, history was made: the highest ever number of A&E attendances at QEH, 605 people through the door. A huge thank you to all my colleagues, on both hospital sites and in the community – your resilience is formidable.”

Patients treated on corridors last winter

The hospital recently entered it’s most severe level of pressure and enacted a “code black” status, then also saw a norovirus outbreak.

Despite some increase in beds, the vast number of new-builds and local population increase appears to outpace service provision. Queen Mary in Sidcup lost its A&E service resulting in further pressure.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    9 thoughts on “Woolwich QE Hospital: Highest ever number of A&E patients

    • We may unfortunately see more of the above after Thursday if we are not diligent Regardless of who we choose to vote for, it’s a priceless privilege to do so. There are no right or wrong choices in elections, only good or bad. May the next election bring about some sorely needed changes to the NHS, starting with a decent wage for the nurses ambulance crew and everyone who keeps QEH running on such days.

    • I do agree with you Charles on the pay increases for Doctors Nurses and ambulance crews.But they have been a lot of promises made which are not simply achievable with out getting in the Country back in to very serious deficit again and putting the Country back to square one.

      The main problems are the then Labour Minister for Health Frank Dobson MP who sadly recently passed should not have signed off the final closure of Greenwich and District Hospital when he did after Labour won the 1997 general election which the local Labour Party fought that general election locally to save Greenwich & District Hospital with a campaign two in to one will not go, (Meaning the services of two hospitals could not be delivered by one hospital). Greenwich District Hospital finally closed in 2000/2001. With all services transferring to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and that campaign was then very quickly brushed under the carpet and forgotten.
      There has been no real investment in local amenities like GP Surgeries and Health Centres etc where new developments have been built putting extra strain on already over stretched local public services. Sadly this will only get worse with several thousands of new homes nearing completion or due to be constructed around the Borough.

      Hospitals should not be used to gain political points. Hard working NHS staff do a brilliant job day and in day 365 days and nights a year should not be used in this way. Politicians only care about them when there is an election otherwise they do not normally go near or by them.

      The head of the NHS clearly asked them not to do this when the general election was announced.

    • I have a lot of respect for our nurses after having several very ill spells in the QE. On one occasion a couple of years ago, the bed next to me had it’s curtains drawn and some people came in. While the nurse was away, an obviously foreign person was talking quietly to a companion, from what I gathered a lorry driver had dropped them off close by and told them the way to the hospital and how to get food and help there? It seemed the lorry driver had done this before and it made me wonder if they were illegal? The next morning they had gone! I could only wonder? When they had spoken to the nurse they said they couldn’t speak English but when she wasn’t there they did? I could give no proof so I often wonder how many times this may have happened?

    • Problems are much deeper than the odd person illegally entering the UK. It’s a question of funding on a far wider scale – and lack of GPs and closing walk in centres thus more people at A&E is a far bigger issue.

    • WASTAGE is the biggest issue.

      Let’s take a typical pre-planned visit to the hospital (not A&E)

      1. I take my elderly parent to see the consultant on her 6 monthly check up. There are at least 3 admin people behind the receptionist desk. Apparently one to confirm the patients name one to find the patient’s file and one to take the file to the in-tray of the consultant.

      2 Then there is another person to tell us to move from one chair to another essentially manage the flow of patients (note usually a qualified nurse)

      3 Then there is another person (again a qualified clinician) to take the patients vitals. BP, heart rate, sugar levels etc.

      4 Then when we do get to see the consultant, he proceeds to ask the same patient related questions that the previous 4 people have asked.

      5. I have no solution to the funding issue but surely the salary of 6 people to confirm the patient’s details is a little excessive to say the least. None of them are on £5 per hour.

      To add to the above I am a trained accountant who trained under the NHS. So, what I am about to say is my real experience. THERE IS A LOT OF WASTAGE IN THE NHS and if the wastage was put in check then at least more of the little money given to the service would actual be used to treat the patients as opposed to paying for well paid admin and back office staff who provide nothing to the service delivered.

      A good start would be reduce the back office staff (including accountants like me) and allow the clinicians to do what they are trained to do.

      • A lot of the clinical tasks in a hospital require some additional training, such as drawing blood or giving injections (hit the wrong part of the buttock and you can damage the sciatic nerve) require a course (usually CPD) additional to the original degree.

        In the way craftsman furniture is slower and more expensive than factory-made, it does work out cheaper to have people used to certain tasks performing them day-in and day-out. I’m virtually certain that there isn’t a registrar or consultant who can perform a manual blood pressure reading with a stethoscope and cuff as fast as a second-year medical student.

        In my experience the waste is usually across the board large scale contracts such as IT which run into millions over budget and years behind schedule, or being restricted to a limited choice of approved suppliers for consumables (the kind which charge £1 for a 30p scalpel blade).

        The less said about agency staff the better…

    • Wastage in the NHS is not as much of an issue as you’re making it out to be – can all organistions improve yes. However, the ageing population and levels of ill health with a complete and utter under investment in training up new health staff and maintaining + adding new infrastructure is the cause of the issue. Denying that just perpetuates the problem.

      For the health service to be operating correctly today, would have required the correct investment and training levels 6-8 years ago. Fixing the NHS does not actually win votes – only sound bites do such as we’ll open xxx hospitals in the next five years.

      The reality is – the NHS needs to be separated from Government if its ever going to survive, short term political windows and goals will continue to ruin it.

      Finally, the number of accountants and back room staff doesn’t impact front line service delivery. The lack of health care professionals is due to insufficient courses and training + competition from other parts fo the world for health care professionals. For a longtime we’ve relied on ‘migration’ to bring in trained staff at lower costs than paying for sufficient numbers of people to be trained here, due to Brexit and better opportunities elsewhere these people are choosing to go elsewhere. Which = labour shortages and increased costs.

    • DWG what you witness is a major problem in the UK. This problem is one that needs tackling.as a matter of great urgency and properly. We also need a point based immigration system.With priority going to professionals (Doctors Nurses Dentist, Police Officers, Fireman, Paramedics, Engineers, Civil Engineers etc).

      Immigration like it or not has had an affect on our public services including the NHS and housing which are now both at crisis point and cannot cope with the huge increase in population.

    • Sadly this year there is a very nasty virus going around which is seriously affecting the elderly and people with underlying health conditions and is taking weeks and months to get over. I thank all the hard working doctors nurses surgeons Health Care Assistants and NHS staff that put their patients first above anything else.Your the true NHS heroes and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


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