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Southend Hospital services under extreme pressure

21 November 2016

Health Care

Southend University Hospital has declared an internal critical incident to its external health and local authority partners as high demand continues.

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 decision comes as continuing high numbers of acutely ill and injured patients require admission with the hospital already operating at full capacity

The Trust's executive team has taken the decision to cancel some elective operations on Tuesday 22 November to free up senior clinical staff, allowing inpatients to be seen more frequently and more quickly.

Denise Townsend, Associate Chief Nurse, said: "The pressure on our services is not abating and this is the case with other Trusts across Essex and the wider region. We continue to see very high numbers of acutely unwell medical patients coming through our doors.

"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 dedication in dealing with these continuing challenges.

"We are currently evaluating our capacity to carry out elective operations and may cancel further operations to ensure we are concentrating all efforts on reviewing our inpatients, safely discharging those 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 as planned."

To assist the hospital in dealing with the situation, the Trust would like to remind members of the public to only visit the Emergency Department if they are seriously unwell or critically injured.

Denise 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."