Big rise in A&E trolley waits at Shropshire hospitals
There were 30 patients left waiting on trolleys for more than 12 hours at Shropshire's A&E departments in January, health bosses have been told.
The figure was revealed in a report to Telford & Wrekin clinical commissioning group's governance board which met yesterday.
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) faced significant pressures in January when it was ranked the worst in the country for A&E waiting times.
David Evans, chief officer at Telford and Wrekin CCG, told the meeting that A&E was still under pressure and there had been two further cases of patients waiting more than 12 hours on trolleys in the past few days.
Hospital bosses have said the trust's top priority is "patient safety".
Claire Old, urgent care director for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, told the CCG meeting that actions were being taken to try and improve the situation.
She said a clinical decisions unit would be opening at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital on Saturday, which will be a dedicated area patients can access while waiting for further tests and investigations.
Ms Old also talked about the importance of being able to discharge patients and get them back home as soon as possible.
The CCG board heard that SaTH still faced considerable workforce challenges and the trust has the lowest fill rate for junior doctors in the West Midlands.
Dr Ian Sturgess has also been looking at issues surrounding the discharge of patients and the reasons behind why some are becoming "stranded" in hospital for over a week.
In January, around a third of patients at Princess Royal Hospital and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital had to wait longer than the four-hour A&E government target.
Nigel Lee, chief operating officer at SaTH, said: “Like hospitals across the country, SaTH has been experiencing significant demand, as has been widely reported. While we have patients waiting in our emergency departments for longer than we’d want, our priority at all times is patient safety.
“The demand at our hospitals has been the result of a combination of factors: we have patients who are well enough to leave hospital but are awaiting appropriate care packages or placements so that they can be discharged and we have very unwell patients coming to the emergency department who need to be admitted to the wards.
“We always do our best to make beds available as quickly as possible and apologise to any patients and their relatives who have experienced long waits.
“Please be assured that we have plans in place to help us care for patients safely at busy times and would like to reassure people that we will continue to focus on providing the best care we can.
“We would like to thank our staff for all their hard work and compassionate care during this time.”