Hospitals in Shropshire had the “worst performing” A&Es in England during the last week, it was revealed today.
The length of waiting times at the Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital were so great on certain days it put the trust that runs them at the bottom of a national rank of NHS hospitals.
Both were the lowest in the country at meeting the NHS target of seeing patients in A&E within four hours.
The problems are is believed to have been experienced on Thursday and Friday last week, although Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust says it is unable to say how long patients were actually forced to wait.
The situation improved dramatically by Sunday, when 95 per cent of patients in A&E were seen within the prescribed time frame, with 323 patients using the emergency departments.
The news was revealed by David Evans, chief officer at Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group. It comes after representatives from the county’s two CCGs and the hospitals trust, which runs both hospitals, attended a regional meeting to discuss recent poor performance in the urgent care system.
Mr Evans said: “A couple of days last week we were the worst performing system in the country, but a series of actions and improvements have been put in place this week. Last weekend saw both sites meet the target – we are seeing some progress but there is still some way to go.”
Last week it was revealed that 370 people visited Shropshire’s two main A&E departments on March 6, their “busiest day” so far this year.
and the trust said the same amount also attended both emergency departments this Monday. The week beginning March 6 was also the busiest week at the departments all year, with 2,405 people seen, the equivalent of 14 people per hour each day.
So far this year, as of Monday, the trust has seen 22,386 people in its emergency departments, an average of 307 people per day. New figures nationally revealed just 85.1 per cent of patients attending A&E were seen within four hours in January – making it the worst month on record.
Simon Wright, chief executive of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said it was indicative of the pressure that the NHS has faced nationally.
He described the regional meeting as “very constructive”
Mr Wright, who also chairs the Shropshire A&E Delivery Group, added: “I am pleased to say that in the week leading up to the meeting our A&E performance had improved due in particular to staff working incredibly hard to reduce the volume of non-admitted breaches.
“In order to maintain and improve performance, a number of measures were agreed which will be delivered through the Shropshire A&E delivery group, which meets monthly. These will focus on pre-hospital care, inpatient flow across Sath and Shropshire Community Trust, complex discharge planning and delays in ambulance handovers.
“As a system, we need to invest more of our focus into reducing ill health and the resulting admissions that then are needed in our hospitals.
“We also discussed plans to help with areas identified by NHS England and NHS improvement as a focus for avoiding similar problems next winter, in particular freeing up hospital bed capacity and managing demand for A&E services.
“Some estimates suggest that nationally, between 1.5 and 3 million people who go to A&E each year could have their needs addressed in other parts of the urgent care system, but turn to A&E because they are unclear about the alternatives or are unable to access them. That is something nationally, the NHS will be looking to address.”Subscribe to our Newsletter