Gloucestershire Hospitals FT declares critical incident after ‘relentless demand’ on emergency care
Pressure comes two months after trust downgraded one of its A&Es
‘Tired’ staff warned a ’Herculean effort’ is needed to reset emergency system
NHS 111 cited as pinch point
A trust has declared a critical incident after experiencing “relentless demand” on urgent and emergency care, months after downgrading one of its emergency departments.
The internal critical incident was raised by Gloucestershire Hospitals Foundation Trust yesterday. An internal memo said the previous three days “have seen unprecedented demand fall on the Gloucestershire urgent and emergency care system”.
Clinicians have been told that early discharges need to be identified on both its Cheltenham General and Gloucestershire Royal hospital sites, to try to free up bed-space, and that all non-essential meetings, besides those at executive level, should be cancelled.
The incident comes after the trust decided in June to downgrade the A&E department at Cheltenham General to a minor injuries unit, operating from 8am to 8pm. Previously, the unit offered a full A&E service between 8am and 8pm, with a “nurse-led” minor injuries service outside these hours.
The problems appear to be unrelated to covid-19, although infection control measures are known to have reduced capacity in many A&Es and wards.
HSJ understands that local managers believe NHS 111, run by Care UK Health Care, has been a particular cause of the problems in recent days, because it has not been directing enough people to alternative services; as well as workforce pressures and the hot weather.
Read full (paywalled) article here in the HSJ.