NHS in winter crisis again? Blame the politicians

Andrew Cummings
January 12, 2018

More than 15,600 patients were treated in Northern Ireland's main emergency departments between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day - with almost 1,000 forced to endure waiting times of more than 12 hours.

However, the report said H3N2 disproportionately affects the elderly.

The HSBC said plans had been put in place across the health and social care system to manage increased pressures at this time of year. This is likely to affect around 50,000 procedures in England.

The staff feel overwhelmed and we have to address the immediate concerns in A&E and the underlying problems.

'I came on to shift yesterday afternoon and there were patients literally everywhere, ' he said. We are fighting to safely treat an increasing number of acutely unwell patients, we are fighting to find enough staff to cover shifts 24/7 and we are fighting to find an available hospital bed for sick patients when there simply aren't enough.

'There were people in our corridors for eight hours before we could see them. We didn't have the physical space.

The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital had to cancel 14 operations on Thursday.


"This has resulted in significant pressures in our emergency departments and on our ward areas".

An OPEL 4 situation is where organisations are defined as being "unable to deliver comprehensive care" and where there is "increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised".

People in the North East and North Yorkshire with medical treatment booked have been told to turn up for it unless they hear otherwise.

"Emergency department doctors are asking people not to go to A&E unless it's a life or limb-threatening emergency, or if they have been advised to go there by a healthcare professional", the message reads.

"Thank you for helping us to prioritise the most seriously ill and injured patients this winter".

BMA representative body chair Anthea Mowat said: 'What is happening in our A&Es is symptomatic of pressures across the entire system.

"We asked our office-based staff to consider volunteering to suspend their "day-job" to support their clinical colleagues, bearing in mind our key objective and commitment as an organisation to care for people who need our help".


'Short-term fixes, however well meaning, will only get us so far.

She added that the winter pressures facing the NHS had been "planned for better than ever before".

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust hit 97.5 per cent capacity on December 27, with 577 of 592 beds full, while New Cross Hospital saw 90.8 per cent of its 732 beds filled on New Year's Eve. This means that even more beds are made inaccessible to other unwell patients to, quite rightly, prevent the spread of this infectious disease.

"We have consultants wandering around the ambulances trying to ascertain what they can do". According to theDaily Mail, "It is the first time NHS England has told hospitals to take such drastic measures during the winter".

Butler-Smith posted a picture of the ambulances waiting outside A&E to Facebook when she noticed that ambulance staff appeared concerned about the delays in handing over patients.

"We apologise to every patient whose procedure or appointment will be affected, and recognise the concern and inconvenience this will cause".


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