Shot in the arm for our A&E campaign

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The Citizen campaign for a new A&E has received its biggest ever boost – and a hint that funding could soon be available.

As experts this week revealed accident and emergency departments all over the country are struggling with “unsustainable workloads,” our two city MPs Mark Lancaster and Iain Stewart were quietly negotiating backstage with the health secretary.

Mr Lancaster told the Citizen on Wednesday: “I’ve had a second meeting with Jeremy Hunt and a business case is being put together as we speak.”

He added: “Demand has increased astronomically as the population has increased in recent years. Major capital investment is needed.

“We’re aiming for a single point entry to the hospital with a new £22 million building.”

Some of the footfall surge has been caused by the new 111 service. But another problem is the growing number of people going straight to A&E instead of to their GP.

Milton Keynes hospital, designed to serve only a fraction of the population it is dealing with today, is coping surprisingly well compared to other hospitals. Some of this is thanks to the Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit, designed to give rapid response care, test results and keep patients out of the main A&E.

A hospital spokesman said: “We are now seeing patients quickly, hitting the four hour targets and most days exceeding them.

“In terms of pressure on staff, being able to see people within the time has in turn taken the pressure off.”