Revealed: Is Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust coping with winter pressures?

How well is your hospital coping with winter pressures?

Monday, 14th January 2019, 12:24 pm
Updated Monday, 14th January 2019, 12:29 pm

NHS England publishes weekly reports which reveal whether hospital trusts are struggling to manage during the colder months, based on key indicators.

This is how Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust coped from December 31 to January 6.

Bed Occupancy:

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General and acute wards at Leeds Teaching Hospitals were 95% full on average, well above the safe limit of 85% recommended by health experts.

The occupancy rate has risen slightly since the previous week, when the trust was 93.3% full.

British Medical Association guidelines state “to ensure safe patient care, occupancy should ideally not exceed 85%”. According to NHS Improvement, occupancy rates of 92% and above lead to significantly worse A&E performance.

The BMA also raised concerns about the number of available beds needed to cope with winter demands.

On average, Leeds Teaching Hospitals had 1,735 available beds each day, of which 1,648 were in use.

Of those, 147 were escalation beds - temporary beds set up in periods of intense pressure, often in corridors or day care centres.

According to NHS Improvement, a higher proportion of long-stay patients can impact the ability of hospitals to accommodate urgent admissions and manage bed capacity.

At Leeds Teaching Hospitals, 892 patients had been in hospital for a week or more , taking up more than half of the occupied beds.

Of these, 448 patients had been in hospital for at least three weeks, making up 27% of all occupied beds.


A total of 1,475 patients were taken by ambulance to A&E during the week. That’s a significant rise in emergency arrivals compared to the previous week, when 1,366 patients were brought by ambulance.

Delays left 40 patients waiting 30 minutes or more before they could be transferred.

Of those, two unlucky individuals waited longer than an hour.

NHS Improvement guidance states that ambulance crews should hand patients over to A&E staff within 15 minutes of arrival.

Any delay in transferring patients leaves ambulances unable to respond to other emergencies, as well as risking their patients’ safety.

Delays affected patients than the previous week, when 37 patients waited more than 30 minutes to be transferred.


Norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, is highly contagious. Outbreaks spread rapidly through hospitals, causing staff to close beds to prevent infection spreading.

But at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, no beds were closed due to norovirus outbreaks.

The previous week, when the problem was at its most severe, the trust was forced to close 26 beds beds.