Problems with discharging patients from Shropshire’s two main hospitals are being put under the spotlight amid the growing pressure on A&E departments.
Claire Old, urgent care director for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, said work is taking place to find ways to reduce problems for the accident and emergency departments at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford’s Princess Royal Hospital.
Ms Old said she understood Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, which runs RSH and PRH, would be interviewing doctors next week and that processes surrounding patient discharge were also being scrutinised.
She spoke to the board of Shropshire clinical commissioning group (CCG) during a meeting in Shrewsbury yesterday.
She said that ambulances attending A&E in the county soared by 11 per cent in December, compared to the same period in the previous year.
It was also up seven per cent on November last year.
The CCG has worked out that about 968 patients per week need to be discharged from hospitals in Shropshire in order to keep A&E working at a reasonable level.
The figure does not include those with more complex needs.
But Ms Old said the actual figures were much lower over the festive period.
A total of 923 patients were discharged in the week leading up to Christmas, 636 between December 25 and 31, and 776 from January 1 to 8.
The discharge target is currently under review, but Ms Old said one of the current problems was that only doctors are able to discharge patients.
She said this was being looked at to see if other specialists could be given the same powers.
She told the CCG board that there were problems with getting the staff needed, but doctors and nurses had been working above and beyond the call of duty to keep patients safe.
But she added that SaTH intended to interview overseas doctors next week in a bid to fill some roles.
Earlier this week, Telford & Wrekin CCG’s governance board was told that ambulances had to be diverted away from A&E in Shropshire to Wolverhampton due to spiralling pressures.
David Evans, chief officer for Telford & Wrekin CCG, said the diversion had been in place for a short time over the festive period and it had affected four ambulances.