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Partners Work Together to Address Pressures in Health System

Homepage » News » Partners Work Together to Address Pressures in Health System

Partners Work Together to Address Pressures in Health System

Posted on Friday 20th March 2015


Health and social care partners in North Cumbria continue to work together to ease pressure on extremely busy hospital services in Carlisle and Whitehaven.

Members of the public are also being urged to play their part in helping with the current situation by using emergency services appropriately.

Since enacting internal major incident procedures early yesterday evening (Wednesday 18 March), all local health and social care partners have been working around the clock to provide the necessary support to relieve current pressures.

The North Cumbria health economy has received mutual aid support from the North East Ambulance Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service and neighbouring hospitals in Hexham, Wansbeck, Newcastle and Dumfries and Galloway with 15 patients safely transferred to beds in these hospital Trusts since the major internal incident was declared. 

The pressure on hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven remains very challenging with a number of escalation beds open (and occupied). These beds do have appropriate safe staffing levels in place, but in order to provide sustainable safe staffing in all areas of both hospitals, this major incident is focussed on reducing the need to maintain escalation beds.

This will allow the hospitals to ensure the core wards are staffed to agreed safe levels. Whilst working to achieve this, however, there is still minimal capacity to admit patients locally until more patients, who are medically fit and currently in an acute hospital bed, are safely discharged home or to an agreed care setting.

The ongoing situation is being closely monitored and health partners apologise that this is inevitably impacting on patient experience with continued long waits in local emergency departments, some patients being transferred outside of the area to ensure they receive safe care, as well as planned ‘elective’ patients for this week having their procedures postponed. 

Key messages for patients and the public:

 There is no need for panic or alarm – the local NHS and social care partners are working well together to relieve immediate pressures and following agreed NHS major incident arrangements

 Any patients whose planned operations or procedures have been postponed have already been made aware by the Trust – all other patients should continue to arrive for planned outpatient appointments tomorrow (Friday 20 March)

 The public can help by:

o   only using A&E or calling 999 for serious life threatening emergencies

o   choosing other NHS services such as walk-in centres and pharmacies or calling Cumbria Health on Call (out of hours) on 03000 247247 for advice on alternative urgent services available

o   staying away from hospital if they have any symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea.

Patient care and safety remains the absolute priority of all partner organisations and the major incident escalation process is working well to ensure appropriate mutual aid and support for the health economy in North Cumbria  Both hospitals remain very busy dealing with emergency medical admissions and the situation is under constant review as part of NHS major incident arrangements

Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“Whilst we continue to face very real pressures in our hospitals, we are grateful for the support of all agencies since declaring a major incident in helping to manage this very difficult situation. 

“Yesterday morning we had over 100 patients who had been in hospital longer than 20 days awaiting discharge to a more appropriate care setting and this places a huge strain on the effective running of local hospital services.

“Our staff have been working tirelessly for several weeks showing the utmost compassionate care for our patients in truly exceptional circumstances and I would like to thank them all for their relentless and sterling efforts. 

“There is no doubt that the pressures being felt in our hospitals this week reflect the scale and nature of wider challenges across the entire health system in North Cumbria and we recognise just how far beyond the call of duty our teams have gone. Our focus now is on working together with partners to return to routine business as quickly and safely as possible.”

Dr Hugh Reeve, interim chief clinical officer, said: “Health and care organisations across North Cumbria have had a difficult day but while the system remains under pressure the situation has improved. All partners continue to work together to cope with the current level of demand and we look forward to further improvements over the next few days.”

The current raised escalation and major incident status for the North Cumbria health economy is likely to remain in place for at least the next 24 hours so that the hospitals can get back to a position of ‘routine business’ as quickly as possible



Posted on Friday 20th March 2015


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