Thursday, March 19, 2015

Joint statement from NHS organisations in Cumbria

A joint statement has been issued on behalf of the NHS in Cumbria about the issues at the hospitals today.

All non-urgent elective operations have now been cancelled today and tomorrow at both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

The statement refers to difficulty admitting and discharging patients, long waits in the emergency department and high numbers of patients in acute hospital beds awaiting discharge as the reasons for the crisis. It goes on:

"To help alleviate these pressures, NHS organisations across north Cumbria have jointly agreed to categorise the current situation as an internal major incident, in order for the hospital trust, NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, ambulance services and the local authority to divert resources, to ensure patients get the best possible care."

A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said that the declaration is across the trust, but the Carlisle hospital is more acutely affected.

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

“Our prime concern is making sure we can continue to provide safe care for patients and this becomes increasingly difficult when our hospitals reach capacity.

"Given the continued and significant pressures our teams have faced over recent months, our hospitals are now struggling to admit any more patients until we can get patients flowing through the system and into appropriate community settings or home with the right package of care.”

Dr Hugh Reeve, interim chief clinical officer for NHS Cumbria CCG, said: "Frontline teams are extremely busy and we would urge people to think twice before using A&E services or calling 999 which should only be used for serious life threatening emergencies."

Joanna Forster Adams, director of operations at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:

 “We have been working closely with all partners in the health and care system as part of the joined up response to this situation for a number of weeks.

"We have taken further actions today to create as much capacity as is safely possible including opening up a small number of additional beds in community hospitals.

"We would like to thank our staff who have been working create additional capacity and support in all our services‎ and would like to thank staff and patients who have been affected by changes in recent weeks.”

A North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesman said:

“The trust is working closely with healthcare partners to manage the issues at North Cumbria Acute Hospital Trusts.

“Patient care and safety is always our priority and we will continue to work with partners to ensure continued focus on safely transporting patients who need to go to hospital.”


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