Staff at Nottingham’s hospitals are being forced to make “very difficult clinical decisions” as a surge in Covid patients has put services under huge strain.
A report from bosses at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust (NUH) has laid out the impact of the pandemic’s third wave, which has led to emergency departments being overcrowded and patients waiting on trolleys for 12 hours.
Rupert Egginton, deputy chief executive of the trust, also revealed in a report to the NUH board that the pressure faced by medical services during the summer months was normally seen during ‘the most difficult winter periods’.
He added: “The Covid-19 demand has been accompanied by high numbers of emergency attendances and admissions.
“This has led to challenges with flow through and out of our organisation during August and September with growing numbers of medically safe patients waiting in our hospitals for a supported discharge.”
Capacity remains constrained due to pathway segregation and significant staffing challenges, and these pressures have resulted in the crowding of the emergency department, directly impacting the performance of ambulance handover.
Patients are being treated in order of clinical priority rather than wait time within the limited capacity available, but cancer two-week wait referrals have remained above pre-pandemic levels.
Mr. Egginton added: “The overarching impact is that we have not been able to offers patients the timely access to services in the manner that we would wish and we are having to make very difficult clinical decisions to prioritise patients in limited capacity.
“We are half way through September and the sustained pressure is showing no signs of easing.
“The level of non-elective (including Covid-19 and medically safe) demand continues to adversely impact on our elective programme and, as such, our recovery efforts.”
Alex Norris, Labour MP for Nottingham North, explained how Covid has ‘exposed’ problems caused by underfunding.
He said: “The pandemic has exposed weaknesses in our NHS caused by a decade of underfunding.
“As local MPs, we are pushing hard for NUH to get the resources to maintain essential care and to tackle the backlog of elective surgery.”
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