Shropshire 12-hour A&E trolley waits worst in country
More patients faced trolley waits of more than 12 hours at Shropshire's A&Es than anywhere else in the country last month, new figures show.
The county's emergency departments continue to face significant demand and new wards are due to open in the coming weeks to try and ease pressures.
The latest NHS England figures, published today, show 348 patients waited more than 12 hours on trolleys in December, while 2,130 patients faced a trolley wait of more than four hours.
The figures, which have risen significantly since November, show that 12,434 patients attended the county's A&E departments at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) last month.
And about two in five of them had to wait longer than the four-hour Government target.
It comes as there has been a rise in the number of beds a day which are occupied by patients who no longer need to be in hospital in Shropshire.
Meanwhile, figures from NHS Digital show an average of 56 extra patients a day were admitted to RSH and PRH last year compared to five years ago.
Sara Biffen, deputy chief operating officer at The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals, said doctors, nurses and other staff are working hard to provide the best possible care in the face of 'very high demand'.
She said: "We are sorry that this means some patients are waiting longer than they should in our A&Es.
“To ensure patients are seen and treated as quickly as possible, additional cubicles have been opened and additional bed space has been created on a number of wards.
“In the longer term, the trust will have a 25-bed therapy-led ward/discharge lounge open at the RSH and a 16-bed ward at PRH in the coming weeks.
“I would like to thank our patients for their understanding and our hard working staff for all they are doing.”
The British Medical Association says A&E departments across the country suffered their worst month on record and has called the performance 'truly alarming'.
BMA emergency medicine lead, Dr Simon Walsh said: “How many wake-up calls does the Government need?
"These figures are truly alarming and serve as yet further evidence that our NHS simply doesn’t have the resources, staff, or capacity to cope with rocketing demand.
“Emergency departments suffered their worst month on record in December, with more patients than ever before facing long delays to admission. These are sick patients, often left in cramped hospital corridors, until a bed is available.
“This is totally unacceptable and demands urgent action.
“A priority for the Government must be to scrap the ridiculous punitive pension taxation system, which is forcing many doctors to cut their working hours. We need a long-term fix to this crisis so that doctors can get back to doing what they do best – caring for their patients.”