1. ITV Report

Hospital bosses encouraged by start of 'super weekend' trial

The ambulance parking bay at Leicester Royal Photo: ITV News Central

NHS bosses in Leicester say they are encouraged by the early results of a "super weekend" designed to free up hospital beds and cut waiting times.

This weekend and next, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust will have extra staff on duty to prevent bottlenecks building up as patients wait to be sent home.

The entrance to a discharge lounge at Leicester Royal

On a typical Saturday or Sunday, the Trust discharges just 55 patients, compared with 110 on a weekday. The backlog causes serious problems on Monday mornings, when managers say there can be up to 15 people waiting for a bed to become free - local health campaigners claim the figure can be as high as 40 or 50.

During the two "super weekends", a range of hospital staff will be working additional shifts or coming in of their own goodwill.

Bosses hope the "super weekend" will ease the discharge backlog Credit: ITV News Central

Following the trial project, Trust bosses will review its success to see what they can build on for the long term. It has been paid for using £10million of funding from the Government to help with winter pressures.

The Trust admits it is not financially viable to have a "super weekend" every weekend of the year, but say it is the first step towards the NHS providing the same levels of service, seven days a week.

Many staff are working on their own time Credit: ITV News Central