THE amount of people going to A&E has returned to pre-Covid levels and despite other challenges faced at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, staff have been meeting waiting time targets.

In June, 3,425 people went to A&E or the Urgent Treatment Centre at St Mary's Hospital, in Newport, the highest levels have been since March, with 95 per cent of patients being seen in under four hours.

That is the second month in a row the trust has met the national target for treating patients in its emergency department.

In the Urgent Treatment Centre, only one patient in May and June was not fully treated in the four hours since arrival.

With the many challenges facing the trust and its staff, members of the NHS Trust Board praised the emergency department for its achievement.

During the height of the Covid pandemic, people were advised to stay away from the hospital unless told otherwise, meaning fewer patients were seen.

In April, only 2,209 people went to the emergency departments at St Mary's compared to nearly the same amount of people in June who went to A&E alone.

Gary Edgson, deputy director of finance, told a trust board meeting earlier this month that levels in the last two weeks of June had returned to pre-Covid 19 levels.

He said: "We had seen a big drop at the end of March, throughout April, May and early June. For the second month in a row, we have achieved the national target."

The trust had seen a change in cases coming to the emergency department — with a rise in patients coming in with mental health, drug and alcohol problems.

Clinical director, Steve Parker, said: "We have seen fewer children, but more mental health related problems.

"I think it would be fair to say aspects of Covid have been quite stressful and that has played out into individuals' wellbeing and the way they access their healthcare in general.

"People’s individual behaviours and their threshold has changed in terms of bringing themselves or their relatives to the emergency department.

"One of the factors we have seen increasingly, locally and nationally, is a number of patients who are presenting late with ongoing medical problems, who,with hindsight, probably should have presented themselves several days earlier."