How does your hospital cope with the pressures of winter?

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

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust behaved from 21 to 27 January.

Bed occupancy:

Buckinghamshire Healthcare's general and acute care rooms averaged 97%, far exceeding the 85% safety limit recommended by health experts.

The occupancy rate has remained unchanged since the previous week.

According to the guidelines of the British Medical Association, "to ensure safe patient care, occupancy should not exceed 85%". According to NHS Improvement, occupancy rates of 92% and above significantly degrade A & E's performance.

The BMA has also raised concerns about the number of beds available to meet winter demand.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare had an average of 574 beds available per day, of which 557 were used.

Of these, 13 were climbing beds, temporary beds installed in periods of high pressure, often in corridors or nurseries.

According to NHS Improvement, a higher proportion of long-stay patients may affect hospitals' ability to accommodate urgent admissions and manage beds.

At Buckinghamshire Healthcare, 257 patients had been hospitalized for a week or more, occupying more than 40% of the beds occupied.

Of these, 123 patients had been hospitalized for at least three weeks, representing 22% of all beds occupied.


A total of 495 patients were taken by ambulance to A & E during the week. This represents a decrease in the number of emergency arrivals compared to the previous week, while 507 patients had been brought by ambulance.

Eight patients only waited more than 30 minutes before they could be transferred.

According to NHS Improvement guidelines, ambulance crews must return patients to A & E personnel within 15 minutes of arrival.

Any delay in transferring patients makes ambulances unable to respond to other emergencies and endangers the safety of their patients.

The previous week, 11 patients waited more than 30 minutes to be transferred.


Norovirus, the virus of winter vomiting, is very contagious. Epidemics are spreading rapidly in hospitals, forcing staff to close beds to prevent the spread of infection.

This week, hospital staff at the NHS Trust Buckinghamshire Healthcare was forced to close 25 beds when the norovirus problem was at its worst.

The previous week, no bed had been closed due to the appearance of the virus.