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Pressures continue at Southend Hospital

11 January 2016

Health Care

Following a review meeting today, Southend University Hospital has declared a critical internal incident to its external health and local authority partners as demand continues to grow

This is due to continuing high numbers of acutely ill patients requiring beds with the hospital already operating at full capacity.

The hospital has been in black alert status for the past week which has seen non urgent routine elective procedures and some outpatient appointments cancelled to enable the most ill patients take priority.

Now in light of the continuing pressures on the hospital's emergency and acute services, the executive team and lead clinicians have taken the decision to raise the alert status further.

This is part of a wider range of measures being undertaken at the trust to safely manage the issues and make beds available to admit very unwell patients from the emergency department.

Staff have been deployed from other areas, including some from our local Clinical Commissioning Groups to assist where extra beds have been opened.

Sue Hardy, chief executive, said "Like other trusts across Essex and the wider region, we are seeing a surge in acutely unwell patients coming into hospital and needing to be admitted.

"Our staff are working extremely hard to cope with the current pressures while maintaining high standards of care, and I'd like to thank them for their commitment during this difficult period.

"However we have had to escalate our status further to ensure the safety of our patients as we continue to work with our partners in the community to increase capacity.

To assist the hospital in dealing with the situation, the trust would like to remind members of the public to only visit the accident and emergency department if they are seriously unwell or critically injured.

Choking, chest pain, blacking out, blood loss and fractures are all considered emergencies, and those with symptoms like this should not hesitate to visit their local A&E department.

Sue Hardy added: " "The emergency department is very busy and we have to warn patients that those attending with 'non-urgent' conditions will wait much longer than usual as patients are prioritised according to how unwell they are.

"We would like to remind anyone who is unsure of the best course of action to always ring NHS 111 for health advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or to speak with your GP or pharmacist."