THE latest NHS data revealed that 529 patients arrived by ambulance to A&E last week, with the busiest day of Saturday seeing 84 arrivals.

Over the week January 6 to 12, 62 arrivals waited 30 minutes or more to be transferred to the emergency department and 13 waited an hour or longer.

General and acute wards at the trust were 97.0 per cent full on average, slightly above the 96.9 per cent recorded the week before. Just 18 beds were free on an average day.

On Sunday, 243 patients had been in hospital for seven days or more at Great Western Hospitals Trust. They accounted for 43 per cent of all beds occupied.

Occupying 13 per cent of beds were 71 patients who had been in hospital for three weeks or longer.

Norovirus patients closed 51 beds in the hospital, up from the 35 beds closed during the previous week.

Commenting on the situation, NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “A&Es across the country are currently very busy – in 2019 we treated over a million more patients in our A&Es than the previous year.

“We have got more hospital beds open than last winter, but flu has come early and is around twice as high as this time last year.

“For the public there is still time to get your flu jab, and remember to use the free NHS 111 phone and online service and your local pharmacist.

“The continued increase in people’s need for care underlines the need for more beds and staff across hospital and community services, which is why the government’s commitment to increase the number of nurses by 50,000 and invest in new and expanded facilities will be crucial over the coming years.”