How well is your hospital coping with winter pressures?

Health service pressures
Health service 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 South Warwickshire NHS Trust coped from January 21 to 27.

Bed Occupancy:

General and acute wards at the South Warwickshire Trust were 98.6 per cent full on average, far exceeding the safe limit of 85% recommended by health experts.

The occupancy rate has risen slightly since the previous week, when the trust was 96.9 per cent full.

British Medical Association guidelines state "to ensure safe patient care, occupancy should ideally not exceed 85 cent. According to NHS Improvement, occupancy rates of 92 per cent 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, the South Warwickshire Trust had 460 available beds each day, of which 454 were in use. Of those, 16 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 the South Warwickshire Trust, 209 patients had been in hospital for a week or more , taking up more than 40 per cent of the occupied beds. Of these, 105 patients had been in hospital for at least three weeks, making up 23 per cent of all occupied beds.

Ambulances:

A total of 434 patients were taken by ambulance to A&E during the week. That's a drop in emergency arrivals compared to the previous week, when 450 patients were brought by ambulance.

Delays left 22 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 fewer patients than the previous week, when 37 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.

But at the South Warwickshire Trust, no beds were closed due to norovirus outbreaks - both during the most recent week and over the previous one.