NHS Winter Pressures 2015/16 - Weekly Update

Published Friday, January 15, 2016

Weekly update on NHS winter pressures facing acute hospital trusts in England. Includes data for accident and emergency diverts, bed days lost to Norovirus closures and general and acute bed occupancy.

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During the winter months, NHS England publishes daily situation reports on winter pressures facing acute hospital trusts.

These cover pressures such as accident and emergency diverts, bed days lost to Norovirus closures and general and acute bed occupancy. The first data for 2015/16 was published on December 11, for the week ending December 6.

This briefing paper summarises figures for 2015/16 to date and compares them with the equivalent periods in 2014/15, 2013/14 and 2012/13, for England as a whole. The recording period for 2015/16 is shorter than for previous winters.

This update covers data up to 10 January 2016.

All data is taken from NHS England’s Winter Daily Situation Reports. Data for individual hospital trusts or areas is available on the NHS website and can be compiled or analysed by the House of Commons Library on request.

There are a number of measures recorded in previous years' winter situation reports that have not been published this year. These include trolley waits over 12 hours, cancelled operations, ambulances queueing and delayed transfers of care.

A&E attendances

Between 4 and 10 January 2016 there were 333,000 A&E attendances. This is 3% higher than the equivalent week in 2015.

Barts Health NHS Trust in London had the highest number of attendances during the week. The figure of 8,822 was markedly larger than for any other trust, with 15% more A&E attendances than even the second busiest trust, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

A&E closures

There were no A&E closures between 4 and 10 January 2016.

There have been two A&E closures so far for winter 2015/16. A&E closures are rare. Between November and March 2014/15 there were 17 A&E closures.

A&E diverts

Between 4 and 10 January 2016 there were 25 A&E diverts, compared to 19 in the equivalent week in 2014/15, 17 in 2013/14 and 29 in 2012/13.

Three of the 25 diverts were from the County Durham And Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, which has been responsible for 26% of all A&E diverts in England for winter 2015/16.

Bed days lost to Norovirus

Between 4 and 10 January 2016 there were 2,260 bed days lost to diarrhoea and vomiting or Norovirus like symptoms. This is 45% lower than the equivalent week of 2014/15, and 63% lower than 2012/13.

445 bed days were lost at the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust during the week, 20% of all bed days lost across England. This trust has been responsible for 18% of all bed days lost to Norovirus in England during winter 2015/16.

Bed occupancy

General and acute bed occupancy between 4 and 10 January 2016 was 95.2%. This is slightly higher than the occupancy rate for the equivalent week in 2014/15 (94.7%).

22 NHS trusts were at over 99% occupancy for the week, with one trust, North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, at 100% occupancy, meaning they did not have a single available bed.

Trusts reporting operational problems

Between 4 and 10 January 2016, an average of 16.4 trusts reported serious operational problems per day. This is almost half the number for the equivalent week in 2014/15 (31.0) but higher than for 2013/14 (12.4) and 2012/13 (14.8).

Six NHS trusts reported serious operational problems every day this week:

  • Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • East Cheshire NHS Trust
  • City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
  • Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
  • University Hospitals Of Leicester NHS Trust
  • East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Commons Briefing papers SN07057

Author: Alex Bate

Topics: Ambulance services, Health services

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