Patient handover targets missed by Weston General Hospital

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 December 2016

A lack of beds at the hospital is placing increasing pressure on staff.

A lack of beds at the hospital is placing increasing pressure on staff.

Archant

Some people have had to wait hours with ambulance teams or other medical professionals before being transferred into the care of Weston General Hospital - but it is still one of the best-performing hospitals in the South West.

A total of 9,518 patients were transferred to the hospital within the target time of 15 minutes but more than 4,000 people waited 15-30 minutes, 860 patients waited up to an hour and there were two incidents where people faced waits of more than three hours.

But Weston Area Health Trust (WAHT) – which runs the hospital – has been ranked third in the South West for handover times, out of 18 trusts.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed there were 14,945 patient handovers in total from between November 2015 and October 2016, 14,118 of which were handovers to accident and emergency (A&E).

In total, 141 patients waited more than an hour, five patients more than two hours and two patients more than three hours to be handed over to the hospital’s A&E team.

Rebecca Watkins, clinical lead at WAHT said despite ‘high demand’ in A&E the ‘majority’ of patients are transferred into the hospital’s care quickly – with 9,007 patients dealt with in the department’s 15-minute target timeframe.

She added: “We work closely with our local healthcare partners to streamline the handover process and are always looking at ways we can improve our joint working for the benefit of our patients.

“If there is a delay in handover the time is often minimal and transfers happen as soon as a cubicle or bay becomes free.

“Medical care and support is also available to patients from the moment they arrive at the hospital.”

If a patient handover is delayed in A&E, ambulance staff must wait with the person until the hospital takes over the patients’ care.

A spokesman for South Western Ambulance Service (SWASFT) said it ‘works hard’ to minimise handover delays.

They added: “Handover delays are reported to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and reviewed on a monthly basis.

“SWASFT is one the best-performing ambulance trusts in the country for minimising handover delays.

“Increasing demand year-on-year is putting pressure on every area of the NHS and we pride ourselves on ensuring our patients are cared for in the right setting.”

North Somerset CCG says it ‘regularly’ monitors handover times and the ‘health and wellbeing’ of residents is its ‘top priority’.

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