Winter stress for NHS
WINTER pressures put Buckinghamshire hospitals under stress, as critical care beds were full and critical patients had to be transferred.
Buckinghamshire Healthcare trust transferred seven critical care patients in December for non-medical reasons, like lack of capacity.
All the neonatal critical care cots were full at Buckinghamshire hospitals at midnight on Christmas Day.
Lack of available beds, either due to ‘bed blockers’ or high demand has been blamed for the winter A&E crisis, which itself has been blamed for having a knock on effect in terms of pressure on other departments.
During December, the trust saw its performance in seeing 95 per cent of patients within four hours drop below the target, to 86 per cent in the week to December 21, and saw further drops in early January.
Across England, delays to transferring people out of A&E were blamed for the long waits the built up in emergency departments in December, which saw the proportion of people waiting longer than four hours to be treated, transferred or discharged drop from 87.7 per cent at the start of the month to as low as 83.1 per cent in the week to December 21.
However, the number of people stuck waiting to leave hospitals fell and critical care beds were less likely to be occupied, although the number of urgent operations cancelled jumped.
The number of urgent operations, those that are either immediately life, organ or limb threatening or those where it is agreed early intervention is needed, jumped to 408 in December, from 319 in November, the second highest number in fourand-a-half years, since 419 in November 2011. There were 16 urgent operations cancelled twice or more, the highest number since August 2010.
The number of people across England stuck waiting to leave hospital on the last Thursday of December, which was Christmas Day, was 4,480, the lowest number since June and down from 5,026 in November.