New figures have revealed how long patients waited to be treated at Bristol’s A&E departments during a “challenging” winter for the NHS.
The data showed that a quarter of patients in December 2019, exactly 3,071 people in total, waited for more than four hours at A&Es run by University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust.
That was the trust’s worst performance since comparable monthly figures, obtained from the NHS website, began in June 2015.
It was a similar story for the North Bristol NHS Trust, with 25.4 per cent of patients, exactly 992 people, waiting more than four hours last month.
Two patients at the trust even faced waits of more than 12 hours.
People aren’t just facing increasing waits inside A&E – pressures are also leading to longer waits for ambulances to transfer patients to the emergency department.
Separate figures, published on January 9, show one in eight ambulances (12.1 per cent) arriving at University Hospitals Bristol had to wait more than 30 minutes to handover patients in the week ending January 5.
This was a total of 83 arrivals.
A spokesperson for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said emergency departments were under additional pressure during the winter.
“The winter months are always a challenging time for the NHS, with frail and vulnerable people more likely to develop conditions that can lead to hospital admissions and a higher incidence of flu, Norovirus and other respiratory problems,” they said.
“Emergency departments bear the brunt of this pressure but they are simply the pinch point of the health and care system and local hospitals, GPs, community healthcare and social services are all working very closely together to manage demand and ensure that patients continue to receive safe and effective care at the right place, and at the right time.
“Within our area, A&E waiting times last month were better than the national average but we remain in a challenging position as a system.
“We encourage members of the public to help us to help them, by taking up the flu jab if offered, speaking to a pharmacist about minor ailments and contacting NHS 111 for advice on urgent but non-emergency care.”
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