Winter inevitably puts already busy NHS services under even greater pressure. However, this year, unprecedented partnership working and an immense effort from frontline NHS and social care staff led to significant improvements in service performance.

In the seven months from June 2017, the county’s two emergency departments were amongst the strongest in the region for meeting the national maximum four hour waiting time standard whilst performance over the four winter months to the end of February 2018 stood at 91.1% compared to 78.2% for the same period last year.

There were significantly fewer cancelled operations and delays for patients fit to leave hospital and a large reduction in ambulances waiting more than 30 minutes to transfer patients into hospital.

NHS and social care staff helped patients avoid unnecessary visits and stays in hospital and reduced delays through a number of initiatives, including:

  • a greater number of ‘on-the-day’ appointments at GP surgeries
  • the ambulance service providing clinical advice and treating patients at the scene
  • more social care staff working in hospitals to assess patients
  • an increase in home care
  • more patients being seen by community staff close to home
  • better support from mental health and voluntary sector services for people in their homes