Southend Hospital services under extreme pressure
16 May 2016
Following a review meeting today, Southend University Hospital has declared an internal critical incident to its external health and local authority partners as high demand continues.
This is due to continuing
high numbers of acutely ill and injured patients requiring beds
with the hospital already operating at full capacity.
The hospital has been in
black escalation status since the May Bank Holiday weekend, which
saw very high attendance. On Monday 9 May 351 patients and 118
ambulances attended the emergency department, the highest numbers
recorded to date.
In light of the continuing
pressures on the hospital's emergency and acute services, the trust
has declared an internal critical incident and measures to safely
manage the issues and make beds available to admit very unwell
patients from the emergency department.
The executive team has taken
the decision to cancel some outpatient medical clinics, such as
gastroenterology and elderly medicine, on Friday 13 and Monday 16
May to free up senior clinical staff, allowing inpatients to be
seen more frequently and more quickly.
Sue Hardy, chief executive,
said "Like other trusts across Essex and the wider region, the
pressure on our services is not abating, and we continue to see
more acutely unwell medical patients coming through our doors, as
well as a higher than usual number of patients who have suffered
falls and fractures.
"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.
"We are looking at all the
clinic appointments and deciding which patient appointments we can
safely cancel in the short term, which will help us to 'reset' the
system in the hospital by concentrating all our efforts on
reviewing inpatients, safely discharging patients who are medically
fit and freeing up more beds.
"We will assess the
effectiveness of this action and use what we learn to enable us to
plan well for the next Bank Holiday.
"We will contact every
patient affected by the cancellations, so if you do not hear from
us, please do attend your scheduled appointment."
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
"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."