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Southend Hospital services under extreme pressure

10 October 2016

Health Care

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.

The hospital has continued to see very high numbers of patients attending the hospital during September and the first weeks of October. In light of these 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 elective operations to free up senior clinical staff, allowing inpatients to be seen more frequently and more quickly.

Jon Findlay, Chief Operating Officer, said "We are in a very similar position to other Trusts across the wider south Essex region. September was the most challenging month the Trust has experienced and the pressure on our services is not abating.

"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 continued commitment in dealing with these on-going challenges.

"We are currently assessing our capacity to carry out elective operations and may cancel further operations to ensure we are concentrating all our efforts on reviewing inpatients, safely discharging patients who are medically fit and freeing up more beds.

"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. 

Neil Rothnie, Medical Director at Southend University Hospital added: "The emergency department is very busy and the hospital as a whole is working at capacity.

"It is likely that patients attending A&E with non-urgent conditions will not be seen in the department. Those patients will be advised and assisted by our specialist Emergency Department Navigator service to book an appointment with their own GP or to seek treatment advice from a pharmacist.

"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."