Use of Weston-super-Mare's A&E department spikes - with 3,765 extra patients treated in two years
PUBLISHED: 12:04 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 13:11 20 January 2017
A record number of people visited Weston General Hospital's Accident and Emergency (A&E) department in 2015/16, with hospital staff under pressure to battle ever-growing demand while bosses continue to work on a long-term plan for the site.
Close to 54,000 patients were treated at Weston-super-Mare’s A&E department in 2015/16, new figures from NHS Digital have revealed.
In recent months the hospital has seen demand so high it has been placed on the highest-possible alert status as it came close to – or in some cases reached – full capacity. This lack of beds puts yet more pressure on A&E, as it means there is no space on wards for patients who need to be admitted.
But at the same time the hopsital has seen as many as 180 patients walk out of its A&E department before being treated.
A sustainability board has been set up at the hospital to create a plan focusing on how it will cope with North Somerset’s growing and ageing population. The contents of the plan remain under wraps, but the Mercury understands it will be published by spring.
Since 2013/14, the hospital has seen a 7.5 per cent rise in the number of people treated in its A&E department.
In 2014/15 the use of the department spiked, as A&E staff treated 2,410 more patients than in the previous year. This year, the figure jumped again, with 1,355 more people using the department – meaning 53,933 patients passed through its doors.
The statistics show demand is likely affecting the speed of patient care, as 86.7 per cent of patients in A&E spent less than the Government’s target time of four hours in A&E – a drop from 91.4 per cent in 2014/15.
The data shows Mondays were the busiest days for the department, with 8,393 people using the A&E department on Mondays in total during 2015/16.
The department’s clinical lead, Beccie Watkins, said: “The picture at Weston is similar to many other hospitals across the country – we are experiencing high levels of demand on our A&E department with increasing numbers of frail and elderly patients needing admission.
“As the smallest acute trust in England running a busy A&E department, the high demand and pressure experienced by other much larger A&Es across the country will be even more visible here.”
She said the hospital is working closely with its partners and looking for ‘new solutions’ to meet demand.