Last updated: 28.09.13

Training improves hospital waiting times in Leeds

Investing in healthcare staff has improved waiting times in accident and emergency (A&E) departments in Leeds, according to an expert.

Chris Reed, interim chief executive of Leeds hospitals, said that after giving nurses extra training, evaluating consultants' shifts and assessing the role of nurse practitioners, the four-hour target is now being hit all the time.

Before these changes however, waiting times were spiralling out of control, largely due to gaps caused by middle-grade doctors.

Mr Reed told the Yorkshire Post that if there is one thing that has led to the Leeds hospitals being able to achieve the target, it is ploughing more resources into employees and looking at how they work, plus their contribution at different points in the patient pathway.

He added: "That’s what’s made the difference. And probably a little bit of everybody now accepts one of the most important things we do is to see people quickly, so it’s an attitude change as well."

It comes after former Leeds hospitals chief executive Maggie Boyle was forced to issue an apology to residents in the city at the end of May regarding A&E waiting times at Leeds General Infirmary and St James' Hospital. This followed months of failing to meet the national target.

But by concentrating on the skills of workers - or lack of them - and improving processes across the hospitals, patients and staff are able to cope much better with waiting times.

It just goes to show how far proper training can take employees and how beneficial it is for bosses as well.

According to Mr Reed, prior to the reforms there would be lots of moving around among staff to try and get each problem solved, due to the fact the right processes, information and data were not available.

He remarked: "Overall I have been really impressed and delighted to be working with some of the great people in Leeds. It’s been a privilege for me to be here for a few months."