UPDATED: St Mary’s Hospital has declared a ‘significant incident’ overnight, a more serious level of the black alert status issued during exceptionally busy times.
At around 01:00 this morning (Wednesday) it was decided that the hospital was not in a satisfactory position, with no beds available, ambulances unable to handover patients at A&E and outstanding emergencies to respond to.
Although there are significant pressures on the Island’s healthcare system at the moment, Islanders are being reassured that the situation is ever-changing and that emergencies are still being answered and patients are being treated.
Management at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust have already held a meeting this morning to discuss the situation, with another meeting due to be held at 11:00.
UPDATE @ 16:05 – It has been confirmed that a number of planned surgeries have been postponed due to the high number of medical emergencies admitted to St Mary’s and ongoing difficulties in discharging patients.
Cancelling planned operations has become necessary to make beds available to people who need immediate care, according to the Isle of Wight NHS Trust. All patients who are affected by these postponements have been advised and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Shaun Stacey, Chief Operating Officer at Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said:
“The hospital is extremely busy – more than we would expect at this time of year. The hospital has a limited number of beds and it is a challenge to manage the high number of people who are acutely unwell alongside those who could go home but cannot be discharged.
“We have a number of individuals who are medically stable but who cannot be moved out of the hospital for a number of reasons. We are working closely with the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the local authority’s social service teams and the Island’s nursing and residential care homes to ensure those ready to leave hospital can be found appropriate placements as quickly as possible.
“Regrettably, we have had to postpone some surgery. We only do this as a last resort but the current high number of emergency admissions means that we have no choice. We apologise to every patient whose surgery we have had to postpone.”
Advice for members of the local community
• A&E and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions. Your local high-street pharmacy can help you deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains.
• If you feel it’s not a 999 emergency, but you need medical help fast, dial 111. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
• Local pharmacists provide expert advice to help you manage your long-term condition or can even help you if you have a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat. They have longer opening hours than GP practices, and most have a private consultation area. Find out opening times for your local pharmacy at http://www.islandecho.co.uk/important-information/local-pharmacies.
• GP practices are now open following the Christmas period – think about whether or not a trip to your doctor would be the most appropriate choice before calling for an ambulance