NEW figures show patients visiting the A&E department at the Great Western Hospital face a lower than national average wait for treatment.

The figures, published by Hospital Episode Statistics, show the GWH – at 86 minutes – had a lower average waiting time than the national average, which stood at 122 minutes during August last year, with 95 per cent of patients departing A&E within three hours and 59 minutes of arrival.

And the GWH fared well compared to Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, whose patients faced an average wait of 175 minutes.

During August, the A&E department at GWH saw 9,786 patients and 1,701 of these were brought in by ambulance.

Of the total number of patients visiting the emergency department, 2.1 per cent left before being seen for treatment. Nationally, 2.8 per cent of the 1,500,951 patients left without being seen.

Leighton Day, deputy general manager for the unscheduled care directorate at GWH, said: “All patients who come into the emergency department are assessed by our triage team who will give them a time-driven colour coding based on clinical urgency to be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner, from red or orange for those who need to be seen urgently through to green for minor injuries and blue for patients who could be treated elsewhere such as the walk-in centre on Carfax Street.

“One of the quality indicators we are measured against is the number of ED patients who leave the department without being seen. This should be less than five per cent.

“In August 2012 we were well within that target with just under two per cent of the total patients leaving without treatment.

“When patients leave without treatment it can be because it’s more appropriate for them to receive care elsewhere.

“This is why we actively promote Choose Well messages encouraging people to think twice before attending the emergency department.

“Some patients will also choose to leave because they do not want to wait for treatment.

“Whilst our waiting times are below the national average, we are seeing more patients every year; in the last year over 72,000 patients attended the emergency department, which is more than 200 patients per day, so it is really important that people choose well so they are receiving the right treatment in the right place.

“We can then ensure that patients who need to be treated in ED are being treated as quickly as possible.”