MORE must be done to reduce A&E waiting times at Withybush Hospital, the local community health council has said following a recent visit.

CHC members carried out an unannounced visit to the emergency department in Haverfordwest and are set to make a number of recommendations to reduce waiting times.

A report to the Pembrokeshire locality CHC on August 7 showed an increase in the number of 12 hour breaches – with some staying overnight at the unit – at Withybush A&E since October 2017, with it topping 450 cases in February this year.

Recent figures show that 76.5 per cent of patients were seen in four hours or under in June 2019 but Withybush was the second worst in Wales when it came to waits over 12 hours with 11.2 per cent.

Sonia Hay, Hywel Dda’s community and primary care manager, said that there was “significant work going on” at Withybush to improve patient flow including focusing on speeding up discharge.

Hospital manager Janice Cole-Williams added that there had been increases in the stays in hospital which impacted in the wait for beds from A&E and staff were “looking at the main drivers for that length of stay increase.”

General medicine will be focused on and a multi-disciplinary team review system stepped up to “facilitate discharge.”

Some reductions had already been seen in the 12 hour wait and ambulance offload times recently and the number of ‘surge beds’ has been reduced.

Deputy chief officer of Pembrokeshire CHC Helen Williams said that the report due on the A&E visit, which is yet to be signed off by the executive members, would recommend opening the discharge lounge at the weekend and keeping ambulatory care open seven days a week.

Ms Williams it would depend on funds and there may be resistance to working weekends but in the “21st Century things don’t shut at 7pm on a Friday night.

“My opinion, not the CHC’s, but I think it should be operational full on 24/7.”

Another recommendation was to improve communication with patients about the length of wait expected and why they’re may be delays.

“If you keep people informed people recognise that people behind the scenes are busy, it’s the not knowing when they will be seen,” she added.

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