ALMOST half the hospital patients in Wigan are still blocking bed spaces despite being well enough to leave, according to recent NHS data.

With a critical incident declared at the Royal Albert Infirmary last week, the data highlights the difficulties in discharging patients amid "growing pressures" facing the local A&E Department.

The critical incident escalation advised patients to only come to A&E if facing a "life [or] limb-threatening condition or injury" due to "unprecedented attendances" at the Infirmary.

Health bosses asked patients to use alternative services like the Urgent Treatment Centre in Leigh if their injury or illness was not life threatening.

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Leigh Journal: A critical incident was announced at The Royal Albert Infirmary last weekA critical incident was announced at The Royal Albert Infirmary last week (Image: Local Democracy Service)

Data from January 26 shows that Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust had a discharge rate of 54 per cent for people in good enough health to be moved on from the hospital.

However, this statistic is an improvement on data from January 20, which showed WWL’s ratio of dischargeable patients to beds was 17 per cent.

WWL, which runs Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Wrightington Hospital, Leigh Infirmary, Thomas Linacre Centre and Boston House, explained that January is a “challenging” month for health care and these figures reflect that. The trust also highlighted that the statistics for people who “no longer meet the criteria to reside” do not take into account ensuring patients have the correct support when leaving hospital.

Leigh Journal: Patients were asked to use services like Leigh's Urgent Treatment Centre for non life threatening injuriesPatients were asked to use services like Leigh's Urgent Treatment Centre for non life threatening injuries (Image: Google Maps)

A joint statement from Silas Nicholls, Chief Executive at WWL, and Melissa Maguinness, Delivery Director at Healthier Wigan Partnership, said: “January was a particularly challenging month for health and care services across the country and we can see this reflected in our discharge figures for the month.

"WWL continues to work together with our partners in the Healthier Wigan Partnership to do everything we can to get people into the best place for them when they are medically fit to be discharged.

“For example, the Integrated Discharge Team with nurses, social workers and a variety of health and care professionals work together to start to plan for safe discharges as soon as a patient is admitted. It is important to remember that we have lots of very poorly people coming to us, who need intensive support following discharge to help them return to their preferred place. 

“This sometimes means that people are with us in hospital longer than they need to be, whilst their complex package of care is put in place. People recuperate better after a period of illness in their own homes, so we are working with colleagues from across the Wigan system to embed a “Home First” approach wherever it is safe. 

“This should help us to discharge more people home throughout February and into the spring. If your loved one is in hospital and is medically fit to be discharged, we ask that you work with us to help get them home or into the best place for them as soon as possible.”