Shropshire's A&E departments see record number of patients
A record number of patients have turned up at Shropshire's A&E departments over the past year, health bosses have revealed.
The emergency departments at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) saw almost 124,000 patients in 2017/18 – the highest ever.
The level of emergency admissions also rose by 13 per cent in a year.
It comes as it emerged yesterday that more than 8,500 ambulances faced delays of at least half-an-hour while handing over patients at PRH and RSH in 2017/18.
During that period, an average of nearly 100 ambulances a day arrived at the county's A&E departments.
However, ambulance handover times have shown an improvement in 2017/18 compared to the previous year.
There has been a five per cent reduction in delays greater than 30 minutes and a 17 per cent reduction in those greater than an hour.
Sara Biffen, deputy chief operating officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs PRH and RSH, said: “It is pleasing to note that there have been improvements in ambulance waiting times both over the course of the year and after the demands we saw on our hospitals at the start of the year.
“Whilst we know that ambulance waits are still too high, we are working hard with our colleagues both from the West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) and other parts of the health and social care community to improve this.
“In 2017/18, we saw an average of around 690 ambulances arriving at our A&E departments every week – almost 100 a day.
"Between the start of January and the end of March, that figure rose to nearly 730 ambulances every week.
“In the last year, we have seen our highest ever level of A&E demand, with almost 124,000 attendances, as well as our highest ever level of emergency admissions, with a 13 per cent increase from almost 55,200 in 2016/17 to more than 62,500 in 2017/18.
“To help us cope with this demand we have taken measures to improve work between the hospital ambulance liaison officers and our own handover nurses and A&E staff.
“I would like to once again take this opportunity to thank our own staff and our colleagues at WMAS for their continued dedication and hard work.”
WMAS said it continues to work closely with all hospitals in the region and operates a number of measures to help ensure ambulances are able to offload patients as quickly as possible.
Hospital bosses have struggled to recruit staff in A&E but in recent months the trust has seen a better response to its job adverts.