Hospital A&E stretched as waiting times rise

Weston General Hospital and A & E Department.

Weston General Hospital and A & E Department. - Credit: Archant

More than 1,000 patients were left waiting more than four hours in Weston General Hospital’s A&E department in December as the hospital failed to meet its targets.

The required target for A&E departments is to admit, transfer, or discharge at least 95 per cent of patients within four hours of arrival.

But NHS statistics show patients at Weston Hospital waited longer on 1,257 occasions in December - 29.8 per cent of all attendances.

This was worse than the previous December, when 22.7 per cent of patients were not seen in time.

The vast majority of NHS A&E departments across England fell short of the 95 per cent target in December.

Weston Hospital saw just 74.7 per cent of urgent cases within four hours and the hospital failed in its trajectory targets.

A hospital spokesman told the Mercury its performance is due to the A&E department closing overnight between 10pm and 8am.

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If patients are admitted before the 10pm closure they will still be treated through the night but not admitted to a hospital bed.

They added: "Any patient in A&E after 10pm will be cared for overnight in the department and will still be considered a 12-hour breach."

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire clinical commissioning group (CCG) chief executive Julia Ross said patient safety was 'not at risk' despite the situation.

She said: "Over Christmas and New Year, the urgent care system across the CCG was enormously pressured.

"We are not alone; this is the case across the country."

Between December 30 and January 5, general and acute wards at the hospital were 99.2 per cent full on average - significantly above the 85 per cent rate the British Medical Association suggests should not be exceeded to ensure safe patient care.