Officials revealed the pressures on hospitals at the Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group’s governors meeting, which also unveiled figures showing that four people had been on waiting lists for non urgent treatment for two years, with 810 waiting over a year.
Governors were told there continued to be increased attendances at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ A&E department, with demand exceeding available capacity for both COVID and non-COVID admissions, plus walk-in patients.
A report stated: “Unfortunately, two patients experienced what is known as a ‘trolley wait’ in excess of 12 hours in June. This means a patient waited more than 12 hours from a decision to admit to admission at STH (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals).
"This does not necessarily mean that the patient was literally sitting on a trolley in A&E, but rather that they were being cared for in an acute setting, in the temporary absence of the right onward accommodation being available. This can happen at times of very high pressure in the system, or when a patient has complex needs which require a specialist response (as was the case with these patients, who needed specialist inpatient mental health care).”
The report said the long 52 week wait continued to be impacted by staff isolation and sickness as well reduced theatre and bed capacity due to Covid 19.
There are plans in place to improve the situation. Theatre capacity increased in early May and STH are working to increase it further this month subject to staffing constraints.
Cath Tilney, Associate Director of Corporate Services at the CCG, told the meeting: “Although there are the pressures that we’ve talked about, things are moving in the right direction in most of the planned care services measures. At the last governing body meeting in July, I reported that there’d started to be a turnaround of 52 week waits, people waiting for planned appointments or treatment. In April, that started to go in the right direction and it’s continued to do so. In June there were 810 people waiting over 52 weeks, and that reduced from the lowest point which was 1,057 in April.
"We don’t want any 52 week waits, that’s what we’re aiming for by the end of March and that was the position we were in prior the the pandemic.”
But she said there was a continued impact and pressures from Covid and plans are in place to try to mitigate those.
She added those who were most clinically urgent were being managed on the waiting list.
"It’s worth noting that in Sheffield and South Yorkshire, the key providers are in a better position compared to other similar providers,” she said.
“For example at Sheffield Teaching Hospital, we’ve got just over 1,000 patients that are waiting over 52 weeks. In Hull, there’s nearly 11,000, at the university hospital in Derby and Burton there are 8,500, so it really is significantly much better in Sheffield.”