Shropshire Star

1,000 patients waiting more than 12 hours at Shropshire A&E amid huge increase in delays

The past five years has seen a huge rise in the number of patients facing long delays at Shropshire's A&E departments.


In December 2018 – in a pre-pandemic world – only one patient waited more than 12 hours in A&E at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH).

Fast forward five years to December 2023 and that number has risen to 1,068 – an increase of more than 100,000 per cent.

SaTH operates A&Es at both Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital Telford (PRH).

Both have struggled to cope with the number of patients attending in recent years, and on several occasions last year the county recorded the worst performance against the four-hour A&E target for the entire country.

On repeated occasions over the past few weeks the trust's own social media accounts have issued messages warning its A&Es are very busy.

Comparing the number of patients attending the departments in December 2018 to December 2023, there has been a rise of 1,364 – from 11,464 to 12,828 – around 11 per cent.

During that period there has been a decline in meeting the NHS's four hour target, down from 65.5 per cent, to 51.4 per cent.

The number of patients dealt with within the four-hour target has dropped from 7,511 to 6,596, but the number waiting more than four hours has increased by 2,279 – from 3,953 to 6,232 – a rise of around 57 per cent.

One of the biggest problems facing hospitals is having bed space to move new patients into.

Although the way the data is collected by the NHS has changed between 2018 and 2023, the figures show a massive rise in the number of people in hospital beds who are fit to leave.

In December 2018 there were 11 patients who were subjects of delayed transfers of care at SaTH– effectively patients who fit to leave but were unable to because of the lack of care packages or care home placements, among other reasons.

Figures showing patients with 'no criteria to reside', who are fit to leave hospital from December 2023, shows that on average throughout the month SaTH had 136 people taking up beds who could have left its hospitals.

The number fluctuates throughout the month but was at its highest on December 18 when 174 patients met the criteria.

On average throughout December, there were 44 patients who had been in hospital for more than 14 days waiting for a rehab bed in a community hospital or nursing home.

Councillor Shaun Davies, Labour leader of Telford & Wrekin Council who is also standing to be the Telford's MP, said the decline in performance at the trust was not good enough.

He said: "This demonstrates what everyone knows, you can't get to see a GP and you are directed to the accident and emergency department where you are waiting longer.