Local health services work together to respond to increased pressure

Posted: January 5, 2015

Response to increased demand and growing pressure

Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust along with its partners in the local healthcare system, including Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and South West Ambulance Service, are working together to manage the current high demand for services at the Great Western Hospital.

Over the weekend 667 patients attended the emergency department and 245 of these needed to be admitted into hospital for further care.

This is much higher than a typical weekend over the past few months. 

Between 11.00am this morning until 3.00pm the hospital will be accepting patients based on an extended clinical criteria which means that less urgent patients may be referred elsewhere during this period.

This will allow the hospital to safely treat existing patients and those who present themselves for the next four hours.

The hospital, along with others up and down the country, has been extremely busy for the past year and demand continues to grow, with staff now caring for around 1,300 more unplanned patients a month, compared to 2011.

Over the last few months attendances to the emergency department in particular have been significantly higher than last year, with an extra 762 patients attending in December, compared with December 2013.

The Trust is not only caring for more and more patients, but they are often elderly and frail and often have multiple and very complex health needs - which only gets worse as it gets colder.

Michelle Kemp, Chief Operating Officer at the Trust, said: "Due to the high demand it's essential all organisations work together to help manage the increased pressure on services so that we can continue to provide safe care to our patients. 

"We are working extremely hard and doing everything we can to provide safe and high quality care to existing patients and make space for new patients.

Some of the things we will be doing over the next few hours include working with our community partners to discharge patients who are well enough to leave hospital.

Working with SEQOL, who manage the Urgent Care Centre on the GWH site, so that less urgent patients can receive treatment here by a GWH team.

"We have made a decision to cancel all non-essential operations planned for today which is not a decision we have taken lightly. All patients affected have been contacted and will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity.

"We are working with commissioners to ensure local people are reminded of the local healthcare options available.

It is estimated that at least one in four people attending emergency departments could be treated more quickly elsewhere.

As we treat patients in order of clinical urgency, with the current surge in demand, it means that less urgent patients may be waiting longer than normal.

We are of course doing everything we can to treat patients in a timely manner, however our priority is to provide safe and high quality care to each patient.

"In many cases people could receive the right treatment much more quickly from a local pharmacy, by calling NHS 111 or outside of normal GP surgery opening hours - the Swindon Walk-In Centre on Carfax Street or the Urgent Care Centre on the Great Western Hospital site.

"A big thank-you  to all of our dedicated staff, who are working so hard to maintain services and high quality patient care, at a very challenging time." 

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