NEARLY one in five of people who attended the emergency department at Wrexham’s Maelor Hospital in June left without being seen.

The figure of 17 per cent – up 2.5 per cent on the previous month – is believed to be due largely to the growing problem of patients having to wait for more than four hours to be seen.

In a report to this week’s meeting of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Dr Jill Newman, director of performance, says the performance at the three general hospitals declined, with 1,522 patients from 14,983 – or 10.2 per cent – leaving before being seen by a clinician.

In Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, the figure was only four per cent, while at Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, the number rose slightly from 7.5 per cent to 7.7 per cent.

In Wrexham, however, 956 of the 5,550 patients – or 17.5 per cent – left. In May 846 of the 5,653 left early.

The figures there have long been higher than at the other two hospitals and a study has been carried out into the reasons.

Dr Newman says: “Work is continuously ongoing to improve the overall performance against the four-hour target.

"There are significant challenges to all three sites due to ward discharges enabling flow from ED [emergency departments] to ward beds.

“Overall performance improvement will see a reduction in the number of patients who Leave Without Being Seen (LWBS) and therefore reduce the potential clinical risk to these patients.”

The board has a target of 80 per cent of patients being seen within four hours but in June the figure fell to 74.5 per cent from 77.4 per cent in May.

The total number of patients attending dropped slightly from 21,542 to 21,438, but at all three departments numbers of acute and serious cases increased.

In the same period there was a rise in the number of patients kept waiting for more than12 hours, but measures are being introduced at all three hospitals to tackle the problem.

The number of calls to the GP out-of-hours (GPOOH) service continues to rise.

In June 10,419 calls were received, compared with 9,997 in the same month last year.

In June 79 per cent of urgent calls were triaged within 20 minutes and 75 per cent of routine calls within 60 minutes, though the Welsh Government standard for both categories is 98 per cent.