January 20, 2018

British hospitals postpone routine procedures as winter demand for care spikes

12 January 2018, 10:35 | Melvin Schneider

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BMA News reports that doctors have said that a culture of financial short-term fixes is failing the NHS, and only a sustainable funding settlement will prevent it lurching from crisis to crisis.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS), which co-ordinates services, said that about half of NHS boards were reporting "ward pressure" as a result of the virus.

Every hospital in the country has been ordered to cancel all non-urgent surgery until at least February in an unprecedented step by NHS officials. This is likely to affect around 50,000 procedures in England.

The alert is being issued following large numbers of people seeking emergency medical help at the hospital's A&E unit. He said: "I have no more capacity to offer, even to the sickest of the sick patients". We didn't have the physical space.

The NHS Trust which runs the Princess Royal Hospital said some non-urgent operations may be rescheduled as the hospital has seen an increase in emergency admissions.

A Prestatyn GP says healthcare in North Wales is "horrendously pressurised at the minute" and fears for patients safety.


It has a growing catchment population of 535,000 residents in east Surrey and north east West Sussex and is the designated hospital for Gatwick Airport and the local M25 and M23 motorway network.

"We are urging the public to choose wisely when it comes to selecting which NHS service they need and to only call for an ambulance if it is a life-threatening emergency".

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She added: "In spite of all that, thanks to winter planning, thanks to the efforts of our NHS staff, our NHS is coping admirably". The latest figures released by NHS Digital show bed occupancy rates have been at 100pc at JPUH from December 27 to January 7.

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NHS England's acute care lead Professor Keith Willet said yesterday that the emergency measures could well be extended a third time, but he rejected the suggestion the NHS was in "crisis".

She told us they also have plans internally about staffing to manage demand.

BMA representative body chair Anthea Mowat said: 'What is happening in our A&Es is symptomatic of pressures across the entire system. "We understand how upsetting this can be for our patients, but we need to prioritise those who need care urgently". Short-term fixes, however well-meaning, will only get us so far.

Each winter the pressure on the NHS worsens, and politicians are not taking the long-term view needed to ensure the NHS can keep up with rising demand.

Britons are fiercely proud of their national health service, but it is not uncommon for hospitals to face significant strain during the winter months when they don't have many spare beds and there is greater demand. From her point of view, it was actually preferable to be in a warm, calm ambulance with two paramedics at hand, rather than on a trolley in a corridor in a much more stressful environment.

"We have consultants wandering around the ambulances trying to ascertain what they can do".

"Each hospital is different so they can choose how they do this and our region's hospital trusts will try to minimise disruption to those patients with non urgent planned operations when making their decisions". "This will help alleviate the chances of winter crises happening in the future".

Bosses say the delayed discharges relate to those waiting not only in RCHT hospitals but also in community hospitals across the Duchy.

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