Rise in patients who are taken to Wigan A&E

Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary's A&E department
Ambulances outside Wigan Infirmary's A&E department

A total of 554 patients were brought by ambulance to Wigan A&E during the first days of the new year, figures reveal.

From December 30 to January 5, 180 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, NHS England’s weekly report shows. Of these, 39 patients waited an hour or longer.

The number of people arriving by ambulance that week was a significant increase on the previous seven days, when 489 were recorded.

General and acute wards at the trust were 94.6 per cent full on average – above the 85 per cent rate the British Medical Association suggests should not be exceeded to ensure safe patient care.

The occupancy rate was higher than the 92.4 recorded the previous week. Above 92, NHS Improvement says that deterioration in A&E performance begins to accelerate.

Wigan Infirmary's A&E unit was more than 92 per cent full every day that week.

On average, the trust had 437 beds available to use each day last week, including five escalation beds, which are used in emergencies and periods of high demand. Just 24 beds were free on an average day.

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 the Sunday, 166 patients had been in hospital for seven days or more at WWL, accounting for 41 per cent of all beds occupied.