SOUTH London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) failed to meet government targets in its A&E departments during 43 out of 47 weeks, research has revealed.

According to government guidelines, a health trust's goal is for 95 per cent of patients to be dealt with within four hours of reaching hospital A&E departments.

But a London Assembly report released shows the now defunct provider - which previously managed Princess Royal University Hospital in Farnborough, Queen Mary's in Sidcup and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich - missed the target more than 90 per cent of the time.

Six London trusts missed the target at least 80 per cent of the time over the last year, while Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust missed it every single week.

London Assembly Member Dr Onkar Sahota, also chair of the London Assembly Health Committee, said: "This is extremely worrying and as the winter sets in, with increased costs for heating, we believe emergency health services will struggle even more and patients in need of urgent or emergency care will not be seen quickly enough."

The debt-ridden SLHT was dissolved on October 1.

It was put into administration last June with special administrator Matthew Kershaw appointed to help stabilise the trust’s finances.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital has now merged with Lewisham to form the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust while Oxleas NHS Trust has now taken over the running of the Queen Mary’s Hospital site in Sidcup.

The Princess Royal University Hospital (PRUH) is now run by King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

A Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust spokesman declined to comment on the SLHT’s management while a spokesman for King’s said: “Since 1 October, we have been focussed on making sure patients receive high quality care as soon as possible.

“At the PRUH, we are increasing staffing levels, expanding the footprint of the Emergency Department, and reducing the time some patients have to wait to be admitted to hospital.

"We will also be looking at the way patients move through the department, so that we can fully assess exactly what additional improvements can be made.

“The immediate challenge is to ensure the department is able to cope with the increase pressures brought on by winter, and we have plans in place to address this.”

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