GREAT Western Hospital is transferring more of its patients from an ambulance to A&E within NHS waiting time guidelines.

Last week, 518 patients were brought by ambulance to the hospital, with the busiest day being Sunday, when 80 patients arrived.

Over the week, 12 arrivals waited 30 minutes or more to be transferred to the emergency department and two patients waited an hour or longer.

NHS guidelines say all patients should be transferred within 15 minutes.

General and acute wards at the trust were 96.2 per cent full on average last week, slightly lower than the 96.6 per cent recorded the week before.

NHS Improvement says that deterioration in A&E performance begins to accelerate when this rises above 92 per cent.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, hospital staff are being encouraged to reduce lengthy hospital stays for patients recovering from an operation or illness.

On Sunday, 249 patients had been in hospital for seven days or more at GWH, accounting for 47 per cent of all beds occupied.

Occupying 15 per cent of beds were 78 patients who had been in hospital for three weeks or longer.

Norovirus cases closed 37 beds throughout the week to prevent the contagion spreading. This is less than the 49 beds it closed the week before.