• Ten trusts responsible for a quarter of “winter pressures” alerts since start of December
  • South of England is the worst hit region
  • London reported only five out of 830 alerts

Just 10 hospital trusts have been responsible for more than a quarter of the “winter pressures” alerts issued since the start of December, HSJ analysis reveals.

The same data shows the South of England region was responsible for more than half of the alerts relating to health systems under the highest level of strain, compared to London which reported five alerts over the same period – 1 December to 20 January.

Although performance against the four hour accident and emergency standard is published two months in arrears, NHS England releases other activity data weekly, including which trusts have declared “operational pressures escalation levels” of three or four.

The  trusts with the highest number of level three or four OPEL alerts were the £170m-turnover Isle of Wight Trust and Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust – both with 24.

The four-point scale runs from one to four, with level three signifying “major pressure” and level four defined as “pressure in the local health and social care system continuing to escalate leaving organisations unable to deliver comprehensive care”.

In the most recent data, released on Friday and covering 1 December to 20 January, 20 trusts were responsible for 47 per cent of the alerts issued.

The South of England, the Midlands and Bristol areas were heavily represented among those issuing alerts.

London trusts were responsible for just five of the 830 alerts – despite some organisations having very low performance against the four hour standard. The Midlands and East region saw 229 alerts and the south had 422.

The NHS England data covers 39 individual days and weekends.

Of the 141 trusts with type one A&E departments, there were 5,199 reportable days across the period and a total of 830 OPEL three or four alerts.

Trusts reporting the most OPEL three and four alerts (1 December-20 January)

  • Isle of Wight Trust – 24
  • Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust – 24
  • North Bristol Trust – 23
  • University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust – 22
  • Salisbury Foundation Trust – 22
  • Univeristy Hospitals of Leicester Trust – 21
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust – 21
  • Medway Foundation Trust – 21
  • Oxford Univeristy Hospitals Trust – 21
  • University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust – 21