The Cash strapped Peterborough City Hospital has invoked a major incident protocol, and is asking that the Hospital Accident & Emergency Unit is only used by members of the public for 'real' emergencies, due to a major shortage of vacant beds at the Bretton site. A combination of the cold snap, and a rapid increase in admissions caused managers to declare a 'major incident.'
Temporary wards have been set up to increase the number of overnight beds, using day care unit spaces at the hospital. A number of scheduled operations, said to be around 70, have also had to be cancelled and/or deferred.
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Patients are being asked to first contact their GP, the Walk-In Centre, or Out Of Hours GP service before seeking treatment from the A & E Department at PCH.
In a statement the Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust claimed many elderly people with pre-existing medical conditions had also suffered with Winter illnesses, in addition to many others needing urgent treatment.
Chris Wilkinson, Care Quality Director and Chief Nurse, said: “This is a local health system-wide problem. There are currently a greater number of people needing a hospital bed, and for longer, as they are very ill, whilst we are still experiencing higher-than-usual numbers of admissions via Emergency Department. These two issues combined, put extreme pressure on the hospital’s bed capacity."
“Our Emergency Department staff will refer non-emergency patients back to their GP or the Walk-In Centre so that we can prioritise treating the sickest patients first. It is likely that such non-emergency cases will often be seen faster and more effectively in other healthcare settings.
“Meanwhile, our staff are working with colleagues from across the health system to ease the situation as quickly as we possibly can. We would like to apologise to those patients whose planned operations have been cancelled this week as a result of us having no free beds to care for them post op. We will aim to reschedule their surgery as soon as possible.”
POLICE 101, Emergency 999, Crimestoppers 0800 555 111 & PBOROtrib NEWSDESK 01733 345581, E&OE