Hospital misses NHS targets as every bed is full at start of 2018

PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 January 2018

Weston General Hospital and A & E Department.

Weston General Hospital and A & E Department.

Archant

Almost all of Weston General Hospital’s beds have been full throughout December and the beginning of January, missing NHS targets.

Winter pressures meant throughout December, 90 per cent or more beds were occupied, with the exception of two days, where 88 per cent of beds were full.

The NHS target is for a maximum of 85 per cent of beds to be filled at any one time.

The most recent statistics, provided by NHS Digital, show the hospital had a 100 per cent occupancy rate for seven days out of eight from December 31 to January 7.

Winter is always the busiest time for the hospital, as the cold affects people with respiratory problems, and results in more slips and falls.

The hospital also had to close some wards due to norovirus.

MORE: Hospital apologises to elderly patient after 22-hour wait.

Weston Area Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has moved some surgical beds to accommodate more people on the wards.

GPs can also send patients directly to its short-stay ambulatory emergency care unit, by-passing A&E, and one of the wards is focusing on respiratory patients, while it has also opened a new ward for patients with acute medical problems.

WGH bed occupancy

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Phil Walmsley, director of operations at Weston Area Health NHS Trust, said: “While patient demand is rising we’d like to thank the Weston public and Mercury readers for supporting your local hospital and the NHS and especially for your patience while we treat the most fragile and sickest patients first.

“These ward changes in particular will help us cope better with the higher numbers of medical patients we’ll be seeing until the end of March.”

The NHS has recommended hospitals can cancel or postpone non-urgent operations and appointments until January 31, but a hospital spokesman said this was ‘a last option’.

Dr Peter Goyder, clinical lead for urgent care at the North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said NHS partners are working together to free up bed space.

He said: “The plans include deferring some non-emergency and outpatient appointments and those patients affected will be contacted in advance.

“However, patients with planned operations and appointments should attend as normal unless we contact them.”

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