Is Buckinghamshire Healthcare coping with winter pressures?

Is Buckinghamshire Healthcare coping with winter pressures?
Is Buckinghamshire Healthcare coping with winter pressures?

How well is your hospital coping with winter pressures?

NHS England publishes weekly reports which reveal whether hospital trusts are struggling to manage during the colder months, based on key indicators.

This is how Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust coped from February 4 to 10.

Bed Occupancy:

General and acute wards at Buckinghamshire Healthcare were 96.3% full on average, well above the safe limit of 85% recommended by health experts.

The occupancy rate has risen slightly since the previous week, when the trust was 94.7% full.

British Medical Association guidelines state "to ensure safe patient care, occupancy should ideally not exceed 85%". According to NHS Improvement, occupancy rates of 92% and above lead to significantly worse A&E performance.

The BMA also raised concerns about the number of available beds needed to cope with winter demands.

On average, Buckinghamshire Healthcare had 583 available beds each day, of which 562 were in use.

Of those, 22 were escalation beds - temporary beds set up in periods of intense pressure, often in corridors or day care centres.

According to NHS Improvement, a higher proportion of long-stay patients can impact the ability of hospitals to accommodate urgent admissions and manage bed capacity.

At Buckinghamshire Healthcare, 249 patients had been in hospital for a week or more, taking up more than 40% of the occupied beds.

Of these, 112 patients had been in hospital for at least three weeks, making up 20% of all occupied beds.

Ambulances:

A total of 467 patients were taken by ambulance to A&E during the week. That's a slight drop in emergency arrivals compared to the previous week, when 473 patients were brought by ambulance.

Delays left 17 patients waiting 30 minutes or more before they could be transferred.

NHS Improvement guidance states that ambulance crews should hand patients over to A&E staff within 15 minutes of arrival.

Any delay in transferring patients leaves ambulances unable to respond to other emergencies, as well as risking their patients' safety.

Delays affected more patients than the previous week, when seven patients waited more than 30 minutes to be transferred.

Norovirus:

Norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, is highly contagious. Outbreaks spread rapidly through hospitals, causing staff to close beds to prevent infection spreading.

This week, hospital staff at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust were forced to close 115 beds when the norovirus problem was at its most severe.

That's fewer than the previous week, when 121 beds were shut down due to outbreaks of the virus.