How Northumbria NHS Trust is coping with the winter crisis

NHS England is publishing data each week which documents how each hospital trust is coping with the winter crisis based on key indicators.

Monday, 22nd January 2018, 6:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 11:05 am
Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, one of the hospitals run by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Here's how Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust coped in the week of January 8 to 14.

BED OCCUPANCYThe trust's beds were 91.2% full on average, well above the recommended safe limit of 85%.

In hospitals where more than 85% of beds are occupied, there is a greater risk of patients receiving inadequate care, being placed on an inappropriate ward for their condition, or contracting superbugs such as MRSA, according to the British Medical Association. Occupancy rates have largely stayed the same since the previous week's report.

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Of 896 available beds, 817 were in use on average throughout the week. Of these, six were 'escalation beds', temporary beds set up in periods of intense pressure. These aresometimes placed in areas not usually used for hospital patients, such as gyms or day care centres. This is largely the same as the previous week.

Bed blocking, where a patient is well enough to be discharged but unable to leave because the next stage of their care has not been organised, contributes significantly to A&E delays. Some 170 patients had spent at least three weeks in hospital, taking up 18.9% of all beds.


There were 795 arrivals by ambulance to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust A&E between January 8 and 14.

The trust had dealt with more emergency patients than last week, when there were 790 arrivals.

Of these, 82, or 10.3% of all arrivals, waited more than 30 minutes before they could be transferred to the emergency department. This was lower than the previous week's figure of 110.

In addition, 23 patients waited longer than an hour. This was half the previous week's figure of 46.

The Department of Health says ambulance crews should be able to hand patients over to A&E staff within the 15-minute target time. Failure to meet this target increases the risk to patients and can delay ambulances from attending other emergencies.


The vomiting bug norovirus is placing additional strain on hospitals which are already struggling to find enough beds. The virus is highly contagious, so staff must close an entire ward where a patient is infected.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust closed 23 beds when the norovirus problem was at its most severe.

This was up from the previous week, when 10 beds were shut on the day the virus was most prevalent.