MORE than 800 people were taken to Accident and Emergency (A&E) wards in Oxfordshire by ambulance in one week this month.

A total of 830 patients were taken to the emergency departments at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and the Horton General Hospital in Banbury from February 3 to 9.

The busiest day was Saturday, when 143 patients arrived.

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Over the week, 64 arrivals waited 30 minutes or more to be transferred to the emergency department – despite NHS guidelines saying all patients should be transferred within 15 minutes.

Of these, five patients waited an hour or longer.

The number of people arriving by ambulance last week was a slight increase on the previous seven days, when 829 were recorded.

General and acute wards at the trust were 96.1 per cent full on average during that week – significantly above the 85 per cent rate the British Medical Association suggests should not be exceeded to ensure safe patient care.

The occupancy rate was similar to the 96.4 per cent recorded the previous week.

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Above 92 per cent, NHS Improvement says that deterioration in A&E performance begins to accelerate.

Commenting on the situation across the country's hospitals, an NHS spokesperson said: "Unlike the typical winter pattern, January this year saw improved A&E performance compared to the previous month, and we also saw faster ambulance response times.

"This was aided by the sustained hard work of NHS staff, and the ability to open and staff more hospital beds than last year.

"This means that the NHS is well prepared to deal with the potential impact of coronavirus, although it remains important that anyone with health concerns should contact NHS 111.

"The growing need for care underlines why the Government’s commitment to increase the number of nurses by 50,000 and invest in new and expanded beds and facilities will be crucial over the coming years."