How is Dorset County Hospital coping with winter pressure?

How is Dorset County Hospital coping with winter pressure?

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:34am 23rd December 2019.

As the colder weather takes its toll on the health of the nation, we have looked into how well Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is coping with winter pressures.

During winter, NHS England publishes weekly reports which give insight into how well hospital trusts are managing – looking at ambulance delays, bed occupancy and long stays in hospitals.

We have pulled together a round-up of how Dorset County Hospital Trust handled the week from December 9 to 15.

SW Ambulance

'Ambulance waits'

205 patients were brought by ambulance to A&E at the trust. The busiest day was Wednesday, when 49 patients arrived.

Over the week, three arrivals waited 30 minutes or more to be transferred to the emergency department – despite NHS guidelines saying all patients should be transferred within 15 minutes.

patient in hospital bed

'Bed availability'

General and acute wards at the trust were 96.4% full on average – significantly above the 85% rate the British Medical Association suggests should not be exceeded to ensure safe patient care.

The occupancy rate was higher than the 94.2% recorded the previous week.

Above 92%, NHS Improvement says that deterioration in A&E performance begins to accelerate.

Dorset County Hospital Trust was full to capacity on two days during the week in question, and more than 92% full on six days.

On average, the trust had 300 beds available to use each day , including 19 escalation beds, which are used in emergencies and periods of high demand. Just 11 beds were free on an average day.

Dorset County Hospital Entrance

Long-stay patients

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, hospital staff are being encouraged to reduce lengthy hospital stays for patients recovering from an operation or illness. NHS England says the move is aimed at improving care options and freeing up 7,000 beds nationally – the equivalent of 15 large hospitals.

On Sunday 15th December, 139 patients had been in hospital for seven days or more at Dorset County Hospital Trust. They accounted for 45% of all beds occupied.

Occupying 15% of beds, 46 patients had been in hospital for three weeks or longer.