THE NHS crisis is continuing, with extreme pressure being felt by hospitals across Herefordshire.

It has led to the Wye Valley NHS Trust, which runs Hereford County Hospital, bringing in extra beds to try and create room for more patients.

A spokesperson for the trust said staff are working under "extreme pressure" and it was grateful to all those who gave up time off over the Christmas and New Year period to help out - that is after two public calls for staff who weren't working to go in.


"In line with the NHS across the country, Wye Valley NHS Trust is currently experiencing severe pressure on its services," they said.

"Over the Christmas and New Year period, the trust brought in extra beds which it is using to allow it to care for more patients."

That move means bays at the hospital, which caters for patients across the county and Mid Wales, that would ordinarily have four beds now have five.

Along with staff being moved around and giving up time off, this means the trust can move patients from the county hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department onto wards more speedily.

That then gives the hospital the capacity for paramedics to hand over ambulance patients more quickly than would otherwise be the case.

But the latest figures, published on Thursday (January 5) and cover up to New Year's Day (January 1), show several hours were still being lost to handover delays.

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During the week to January 1, 190 hours were lost to ambulance handover delays, which is the time patients spent with paramedics at the hospital before being handed over to A&E staff.

This can either be in the hospital or in ambulances outside, with 94 patients waiting for more than 60 minutes. That means around 50 per cent of patients faced a wait of an hour or more, above the England average of 34 per cent.

That is lower than the 223 hours lost to handover delays in the week to December 25, with 105 patients waiting for more than an hour.

This winter, the A&E has never closed or diverted patients but others, such as Worcestershire Royal, have.

On November 30, there were 313 total general and acute beds open at Hereford County Hospital and the community hospitals elsewhere in the county.

A total of 297 of those were occupied, figures show.


But by December 31, the total number of beds had risen to 360, with 316 occupied.

Speaking ahead of a vote which could see junior doctors strike for 72 hours in March, the British Medical Association said patients were suffering and exhausted staff were burning out and leaving the NHS and yet the Government “fails to see the crisis in front of it”.

Ministers were accused of ignoring all the evidence to the contrary and preferring to treat the public as “fools” with assurances that the NHS has all the resources it needs.

But the Department of Health said it was increasing junior doctor’s pay by a cumulative 8.2 per cent by 2023.

It added: “There are record numbers of staff working in the NHS, and we are committed to publishing a comprehensive workforce strategy next year."

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