Health blog: How A&E at Worcestershire Royal Hospital works

ITV Central's Health Correspondent was given exclusive access to the A&E department which is of most concern to Jeremy Hunt.

Our cameras were not able to film inside the department because of winter pressures, but here, Stacey Foster recalls her morning spent on A&E:

I was the first journalist invited to go and see the A&E department in Worcester that's been in the national spotlight recently.

When I walked into the unit, to the right, work was taking place to expand the waiting area.

The new extension is due to open in a few weeks. It won't increase capacity but it will give staff a bigger area to work in, I'm told.

I was then taken to the main A&E area. All of the cubicles were in use. There were three patients on trolleys in the adjacent corridor.

The Matron of A&E informed me that the patients on trolleys were waiting to be taken to a ward or sent home.

She was keen to show me the trolleys. She says the Trust have investedin better mattresses so that patients are comfortable.

Credit: ITV News Central

Next to the trolleys on the corridors, already built in to the walls, are nursesbuzzers. These are available all along the corridor which can take nine patients waiting in a trolley.

A nurse is assigned to the corridor, so it's treated like a ward in itself.

The trust says using the corridors is part of the coping strategy for the department in times of extreme pressure, the level of care doesn't differ from corridor to cubicle, they say.

Credit: ITV News Central

I was also shown around the new Minor Injuries Unit which opened in September to relieve pressure on A&E. A number of patients were waiting with sprains and breaks. There is also a couple of rooms for use by GPs.

Around 1pm, the A&E department started to get very busy with patientsarriving. At all times, it felt calm and there appeared to be enough staff.

One patient, who was being seen on a trolley in a corridor had arrived a few hours earlier. He was having his blood pressure checked by a nurse at the same time as being briefed by the consultant about the next stage of his care.

We weren't able to film in the department because it was busy.

As we left, to carry out our interviews, the trust representative told me that tomorrow a new 14 bed ward would be opening in the hospital to alleviate pressure on the A&E corridors.