Headlines: February 14th, 2005

Hospitals which meet targets for dealing with accident and emergency patients are to get a financial reward. More than 90 NHS trusts will get 100,000 pounds each under the scheme.The money is going to those hospital trusts that have consistently seen 97 per cent of patients in and out of accident and emergency within four hours or less. They will be able to use the money as extra capital funding to develop services across their hospitals.

The payments are the fourth stage of a capital scheme under which every hospital trust in England that delivers faster care for patients in A&E departments is able to access up to half a million pounds until March this year.

Health minister Rosie Winterton congratulated the trusts that are getting the money and paid tribute to the hard work of staff that was leading to better services for patients.

She said performance figures for the final quarter of last year showed just how much accident and emergency services had improved. “Just a year ago, nationally 90 percent of patients would have been seen, treated and discharged within four hours and in the same period two years ago it was just 78 percent. These latest indications show that we are now well on the way to an A&E service where every patient can expect to be in and out within four hours,” she said.