Wigan A&E pressure leads to beds being moved to meet demand

Unprecedented demand at Wigan’s A&E saw beds from several other hospital units used to plug gaps.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 11:34 am
Updated Friday, 12th April 2019, 12:39 pm
Wigan Infirmary

Around 7,500 patients attended the emergency department at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in February, with 318 on one particular day, according to a health service report.

Beds from the Endoscopy Unit had to be used for A&E patients for the first time, along with beds in the ambulatory assessment area, discharge lounge and catheter laboratory.

The report comes within weeks of hospital bosses applying for planning permission to expand one of its wards to provide additional beds.

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Council officers are now considering the bid for a single storey extension to the facility’s Pemberton Ward and outpatient clinic.

The plans could be signed off by the town hall by the end of this month.

The attendance statistics for February saw the hospital trust’s rate for the four hour A&E waiting target hit 68.57 per cent, although that represented a slight increase from January’s rate of 63.65.

The number of attendances is described as unprecedented and led to ‘negatively affected performance levels’, according to a report discussed by clinical commissioning group (CCG) bosses.

Limited staffing is also referenced as contributing to the challenges during the month.

Ward managers were asked to highlight ‘any beds that (were) empty following discharge for more than 30 minutes’ to management to help with availability. And all possible areas were escalated to support the requirement for additional bed capacity, the report adds.

The four hour target for A&E shows the rate of patients who spend that time or less from arrival to transfer, admission or discharge.

NHS bosses set a 95 per cent target which has proved difficult for hospital trusts to meet particularly during the winter months.

And there have been reports in recent weeks that it may be scrapped within a year with new targets proposed that relate to the severity of illness or injury.

Wigan’s figures during 2019 have brought its annual (from last April) rate to 82.42 per cent.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust was contacted for comment but none was forthcoming.