Royal Bournemouth Hospital will not rule out a critical incident

A CRITICAL incident at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital ‘cannot be ruled out’ this winter, with staff shortages, limited beds and the continuing effects of Covid all continuing to cause problems.

Hospital staff say they are doing ‘everything in their power’ to avoid it coming to this, but need to ‘keep an eye out for the possibility’.

Sue Whitney, the group’s deputy operations manager, said: ‘I would like to say that we won’t get to that stage, but it’s only October, and we’re already very busy, so we’ll do whatever we can. that we can so that we don’t get there, but I wouldn’t promise anything.

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital last week declared an internal capacity incident, after acknowledging it was unable to help the number of patients it wanted.

Sue said: “An internal capacity incident just gives that heightened level of focus, drive and oversight, and with that comes the ability to unlock certain areas.”

Lucy, a member of the clinical site team, added that the hospital was dealing with an “uncontrollable volume of patients” and “we are overwhelmed”.

Read more: Bournemouth and Poole hospitals are under ‘extreme pressure’

In the same week, University Hospitals of Dorset (UHD) issued an appeal for people to only visit the ward for serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses.

Bournemouth Echo: Michelle Higgins, Chief Emergency Officer.Michelle Higgins, Executive Director of the Emergency Department. (Picture: NQ)

Michelle Higgins, general manager of the emergency department, said: ‘We are entering winter and entering our winter pressures.

“It’s been a tough few weeks for A&E. We’re definitely seeing a lot more ambulances and a lot more sicker patients.

“Covid definitely feels like it’s on the rise, certainty with our staff and our patients.

“So we have to move services, welcome our patients and put our control measures back in place.”

Michelle added that while A&E may seem like the most overwhelmed department, it’s just a “symptom” of the whole system.

She said: “We are right in the middle where the pressure is building. People see these pressures, they see ambulances outside and they hear about the wait times, but that’s only an indication of the overall pressure.

“We are only part of this system, but it is the most visible part.”

The latest number of patients in Dorset hospitals with Covid reached 93 last week.

Figures from Public Health Dorset showed 93 patients were being treated as of October 5.

This is compared to 53 people in the previous September 20 update.

Speaking to the Daily Echo on Monday, UHD said its infection prevention and control teams continued to monitor Covid numbers in its hospitals.

In England, the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus in the latest survey was 1.1 million, or about one in 50, compared with 857,400, or one in 65, the previous week.

  • Check out tomorrow’s Daily Echo to find out how dedicated NHS staff are dealing with the pressure.

Comments are closed.