Bed shortage causing problems at hospital's A&E

PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 June 2013

Weston Hospital.

Weston Hospital.

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A LACK of beds is causing 'significant problems' at Weston General Hospital, its chief executive has confirmed.

Nick Wood has told Weston Area Health Trust’s (WAHT) board that the accident and emergency department has not functioned as well as it could because bed numbers were insufficient to accommodate the high number of patients.

In three of the last four quarters bed occupancy has been more than 90 per cent and since October it has caused problems with admitting patients quickly through the emergency department.

The shortage in beds has affected patient flow through the hospital causing delays for both those needing to stay in hospital as well as the ‘see and treat’ patients.

The Mercury revealed last month the hospital had the second worst A&E record in the country with more than a quarter of patients in April having to wait more than four hours to be treated.

Mr Wood, who became WAHT chief executive in April, also revealed in his monthly performance review there has been an increase in cancelled operations, patients suffering falls and complaints.

But waiting times for consultations and procedures remain in line with national targets, despite the difficulties.

The long cold winter stretched the hospital’s resources in early 2013 with Mr Wood calling on people to only use the emergency department if necessary.

However better weather has seen the trust’s performance improve ‘significantly’ in recent weeks.

Mr Wood said: “The quality of care delivered through waiting times in the emergency department has improved significantly since Easter but remains of concern in terms of both the ability to meet the required standard and the level of occupancy on medical wards.”

Meanwhile a report, led by director of nursing Chris Perry, will be prepared over the next two months to try to reduce the rising number of falls.

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