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Patients left waiting in ambulances outside Walsall Manor Hospital

By Richard Guttridge | Walsall | Health | Published:

More than 150 patients were left waiting in ambulances outside Walsall Manor Hospital in one month as bosses struggled to cope with a norovirus outbreak.

Walsall Manor's Accident and Emergency department

Chiefs said March was a ‘particularly challenging month’ as the spread of the vomiting bug added to pressures at the hospital.

A total of 153 ambulances waited at least half-an-hour outside the Manor in the month. The figure rose from 129 in February as staff struggled to get patients transferred into beds in quick time.

People arriving at hospitals in ambulances are meant to be handed over in 15 minutes. Nine waited more than an hour to be taken in, but the figure was down from 21 the previous month.

Philip Thomas-Hands, chief operating officer at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said the norovirus outbreak hampered the speed in which medics were able to move patients in and out of the hospital.

He said: “March was a particularly challenging month due to the outbreak of norovirus that affected so many ward areas and had a significant impact on patient flow

“The trust is continuing its work to review our pathways and processes in order to ensure that patients are moved from the emergency department and treated in a timely manner.”

Visitors were told to stay away from wards at the Manor as norovirus cases were confirmed at the end of March. Wards were closed to visitors for a week to restrict the spread of the highly-contagious infection.

New figures also revealed the trust’s A&E waiting times performance also slipped during March. There has been barley any improvement in getting more patients seen in four hours since last September.

In March, 81.2 per cent of patients were seen within the NHS target time of four hours, a dip from 82.8 per cent in February.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Deputy Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Deputy Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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