THE team in charge of Great Western Hospital responded to complaints about long wait times in A&E and gave an update about upcoming improvements.

FULL STORY: Calls for more staff and bigger wards at GWH as patients left waiting hours for a bed - hospital apologises

Last December, the hospital successfully bid for £30 million from the government to expand the emergency department, add an intensive rehabilitation facility and make other changes which will be designed to ease bed pressures.

This extra cash has not yet been spent but plans for new services are being made.

In terms of boosting staffing, a new national recruitment campaign was launched by NHS England earlier this year to work on getting more nurses on board.

A Great Western Hospital spokeswoman gave an overview of the situation at the hospital and discussed the significant planned changes that have been made possible by the major government grant.

She said: “We are very busy throughout the year and with winter approaching we can start to see patients with more complex conditions.

“Of the 400 people who on average attend our emergency department and urgent care centre each day, around a third need further care on a ward.

“Our biggest challenge is ensuring patients can leave hospital when they are well enough so that beds remain available for new patients and we can maintain a steady flow through the hospital.

“This is reliant on the local health and care system working together, so that arrangements for further care can be made early on.

“Families, friends and carers can help by being involved in discussions about future care, being available to collect the patient and arranging help around the home.

“We were successful in a bid for £30 million of national funding which will contribute towards expanding our emergency department and urgent care service, alongside an intensive rehabilitation facility and other services to help meet the needs of the growing and ageing local population.

“This is a huge and complex programme of work and we are currently in the early stages of planning what these services will look like.”

Hospital chiefs have long complained that they need more beds.

Last summer, then-strategy director Kevin McNamara told the Adver that the hospital estimated it would need an extra 60 to 80 beds by 2028.

Demand for inpatient beds will increase by around 30 per cent over the next decade as Swindon continues to expand and the population ages.