15 patients suffer 12-hour A&E wait on trolley at Shropshire hospitals
Fifteen patients were left waiting on trolleys for more than 12 hours at Shropshire's A&E departments in April, new figures show.
The figures were included in the latest report to Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group's governance board.
Health bosses say demand on the county's emergency departments continues to increase, but performance has also improved.
Figures put before the board said 73 per cent of A&E patients were seen within the four-hour government waiting target in May – an improvement from 68.2 per cent in April.
It was the trust's best performance since August last year, but still falls short of the 95 per cent target.
Dr Julie Davies, director of performance and delivery at Shropshire CCG, said: "There's been some investment by the trust in terms of workforce so we are seeing more senior nursing posts in both emergency departments that's now starting to have real benefit.
"We are seeing improvement during the daytime as staffing improves.
"We have middle grade doctors that are due to start from September onwards, just in time for the winter thankfully."
She said the situation in the emergency departments overnight was still of concern.
Dr Davies said there were also 15 incidents in April where patients were left waiting on trolleys for more than 12 hours.
She added: "Although there was no harm to patients, that's a dreadful patient experience and it's also unpleasant for family members who are attending A&E with their relatives.
"We are very keen to make sure that is absolutely minimised and pleased to report we haven't had any since."
Christine Morris, chief nurse for Shropshire CCG, said: "We are on a daily basis looking at staffing of the two emergency departments and ensuring that things that were identified by the Care Quality Commission, and the actions that were put in place, are continuing to be followed by the trust."
A report to the board said no patients affected by trolley waits of more than 12 hours came to any harm.
Asking about the breaches, chair of the CCG Dr Julian Povey said: "I wonder why we measure 12-hour trolley waits as being a marker of quality because every single time The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust have one there's never any harm.
"How much in detail do we analyse their analysis as whether any harm has happened? Because we have had over the year numerous 12-hour trolley breaches and I can't remember anyone ever being reported as a harm."
Ms Morris said she agreed with Dr Povey, adding: "When the harm performer is done, it's quite soon after the 12-hour trolley breach so there will be a 72-hour review and then a short review of the impact on that patient.
"Sometimes it's further down the line the patient may get a harm incident. They may develop a pressure ulcer that was caused by that long delay on the trolley, but actually materialises a bit later down the line."
Nigel Lee, chief operating officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “No one should have to wait longer than necessary for treatment, but in common with A&E departments across the country, both of our A&Es continued to be under great pressure in April and our priority remains ensuring that all of our patients receive the right care for their condition.
“We have been working hard to reduce the number of patients who experience long waits in our A&Es and while we don’t want anyone to be in this position, we are continuing to work with all health and social care partners to improve urgent and emergency care performance.
“Last month, working with ECIST, (Emergency Care Intensive Support Team), we carried out Acute Medicine Start of Change Weeks at both our hospitals to identify ways to improve how and where patients are treated as they enter hospital and how efficiently their treatment progresses, and this work is ongoing.”