Weston hospital full to capacity due to increase in demand

There were no spare beds at the hospital last week.

There were no spare beds at the hospital last week. - Credit: Archant

General and acute wards at Weston General Hospital were full to capacity every day last week.

The occupancy rate was the same the previous week, despite the British Medical Association's suggesting an 85 per cent occupancy rate should not be exceeded to ensure safe patient care.

According to health leaders, hospitals are struggling to cope with extra demand on services due to the coronavirus outbreak and usual seasonal pressures.

More: Two coronavirus cases confirmed in Somerset.

Commenting on the situation, an NHS spokesman said: 'NHS staff are working round the clock to respond to the coronavirus outbreak, with 111 services dealing with over 120,000 more calls than the same week last year.

'That's why we're already recruiting 500 additional initial call responders to answer up to 20,000 more 111 calls every day, with further staffing increases in train, providing a new online service which can provide advice at the touch of a button, and boosting the availability of clinical advice for those who need it.'

Last week, 240 patients were taken to the hospital's A&E department by ambulance.

Over the week, 28 arrivals waited 30 minutes or more to be transferred to the emergency department - despite NHS guidelines which state all patients should be transferred within 15 minutes.

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Of these, two patients waited an hour or longer.

The figures have been released by NHS England which publishes weekly reporters providing insight into how well hospital trusts are coping.

On average, the hospital - which is run by Weston Area Health Trust (WAHT) - had 264 beds available to use each day last week, including three escalation beds, which are used in emergencies and periods of high demand.

Zero beds were free on an average day.

On Sunday, 114 patients had been in hospital for seven days - accounting for 44 per cent of all beds occupied.

Occupying 12 per cent of beds were 31 patients who had been in hospital for three weeks or longer.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, hospital staff are being encouraged to reduce lengthy hospital stays for patients, to improve care options and free up 7,000 beds nationally.