Posted on 13/07/2017 by David Burgess
No beds in A&E after annual patient rise
THERE are no spare beds at Colchester General Hospital’s A&E department as staff bid to cope with a summer surge in patients.
The emergency department at the Turner Road hospital, is at full capacity after the annual rise of health complaints during the summer months.
Alison Power, director of operations at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, said it was common to experience peaks in A&E in the summer and patients would be seen even if they could not be place in a bed immediately.
She said: “Safety is our first priority and while Colchester General Hospital has been very busy in the past fortnight, we have been managing the extra demand effectively.
“It is quite common to experience peaks in demand in the summer months and when this happens we work with our partners in health and social care locally to make sure we have the capacity to care for patients in the most appropriate place.
“When high numbers of patients come to our emergency department for treatment, they may need to wait longer than usual for a bed.
“However, they are always under the care of our expert team.”
Population growth in Colchester is also part of the reason for the hospital being stretched.
But the number of beds being taken up by patients who medically do not need to be treated – often dubbed ‘bed-blockers’ - is still high at many hospitals.
Most are waiting for a care package, either at home or to move into a care home.
Colchester General Hospital has set up a nurse-led ward to specifically look after the number of delayed discharge patients.
Alison said: “We have recently opened a new service, our discharge hub, to help us get patients home who are currently in our beds but do not need the care that hospitals provide.
“In addition a new unit, managed by a team of nurses, has been opened to provide appropriate care for patients who can’t get back home but are medically fit and need to start getting more active and back to their previous level of fitness.
“It is important to remind people to think carefully before they use our A&E and consider whether they can get help from other services, such as NHS 111.
“Emergency departments are for critical or life-threatening situations requiring medical attention, such as loss of consciousness, heavy blood loss, suspected broken bones, persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, overdoses, signs of a stroke, ingestion or poisoning.”
Other hospitals in Essex including Basildon and Princess Harlow have also found themselves at full capacity.