A&E visits up by 6,000 at NHS hospitals

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Hospitals have had to open dozens of extra beds after thousands more people turned up for treatment at A&E departments.

A&E attendances at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust were up by more than 6,000 over the past year compared to the previous 12 months.

The trust, which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, was using least 90 extra beds to cope with demand during February as patients faced delays in A&E.

A report to Wakefield Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board said: “Across the trust, the number of attendances at A&E between April 1, 2015 and March 13, 2016 was 220,262, compared with 214,241 in the same period in the previous year.

“The impact of these combined factors on bed capacity has meant that during February the trust was consistently using between 90 and 136 extra beds.

“This has an impact on patient flow which affects both the length of time people wait in A&E and the time taken from referral for planned procedures to being treated.”

Patients were also stuck in hospital because of delays in getting them discharged. In January there were almost 2,000 “delayed bed days” at the trust’s hospitals.

The report said: “A significant factor creating pressure on the hospital system is the number of people occupying hospital beds who are medically fit for discharge but whose discharge has been delayed because they are waiting for alternative care arrangements to be in place.”

An improvement plan was being drawn up to give all patients an expected discharge date, carry out a daily review of all patients and send home 35 per cent of patients before midday if they are due to be discharged.

Mid Yorkshire want to carry out a centralisation of A&E services six months earlier than planned because of shortstaffing and financial problems.

They believe making Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield the trust’s main A&E department will make patient care safer.

They are also worried about cash they want to spend on new facilities at Dewsbury hospital being swallowed up by cash shortfalls caused by government spending cuts.

Mid Yorkshire has drawn up a “business case” for investment at Dewsbury hospital over the next three years, which is being considered by NHS bosses.

The report said: “A firm plan for earlier implementation would enable the trust to achieve financial balance sooner and could therefore increase the likelihood of the business case being approved.”

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