Emergency departments in crisis as staff struggle to cope with surging demand

First published in News by

ALMOST 100 extra hospital beds have been opened as patients continue to besiege Worcester’s under-pressure A&E department.

As staff battle to keep on top of a relentless surge in emergency admissions, hospital bosses are pleading with them to stay away and seek alternative treatment elsewhere.

Warning bells were first sounded at Worcestershire Royal Hospital last week, when a rise in patients over Christmas saw the highest level of escalation– level four – declared.

Although that has now been dropped to level three, concerned medics say demand at A&E in Worcester is still “unprecedented”.

They are pleading with people to help them lift the pressure and create space in squeezed A&Es by taking less serious injuries such as cuts and fractures to one of Worcestershire’s minor in-jury units for treatment.

As well as allowing staff to provide emergency treatment to those who really need it, heading to minor injuries will also allow people to be seen more quickly – with average waiting times currently less than 20 minutes.

With the A&E department at Redditch Alexandra Hospital also remaining under pressure, A&E attendances across Worcester-shire Acute Trust are up more than 10 per cent on this time last year and emergency admissions have been consistently running at more than 1,000 a week.

A dozen extra beds were opened at Worcestershire Royal over the weekend, on top of 76 that have already been opened over the last few weeks.

Stewart Messer, chief operating officer at Worcester-shire Acute Trust, said: “Demand for A&E services across the both sites is now at unprecedented levels.

“We are working with colleagues across the health and social care community to try and ease the situation.

“Across the county work is also being done to ensure easier access to community hospital and social care beds for those patients who no longer need acute hospital care.

“Patients can do their bit by ensuring that they only come to A&E if it is absolutely necessary.”

There are minor injury units at community hospitals in Malvern, Evesham, Bromsgrove and Tenbury, as well as one at Kidderminster.

The community hospitals are run by Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, which is working with Worcestershire Acute to try and ease the pressure on A&E departments.

Community care lead Matt Stringer said: “We know that there is a significant number of people who go to A&E with a minor injury which can be treated much quicker at one of the minor injury units.

“On average most people wait about 20 minutes before they are seen at an MIU and if more people with minor injuries used this service it would free up the capacity at A&E so our colleagues there can support those people who really do need emergency care.”

Comments (8)

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1:16pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Gronow says...

O.K. so you break your rm at 10.30 pm, where do you go other than A & E?
and if there is an alternative how do you find out?
O.K. so you break your rm at 10.30 pm, where do you go other than A & E? and if there is an alternative how do you find out? Gronow
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Gronow says...

p.s. for "rm" read "arm"!
p.s. for "rm" read "arm"! Gronow
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Hwicce says...

I can never understand why the people who run the NHS are so thick.

Why do people go to A&E rather than minor injuries? Well if I lived in Worcester I'm not going to go to Malvern, Evesham, Bromsgrove and Tenbury, or Kidderminster when there is a hospital in Worcester am I?

Why do we not go to the walk-in clinic in Worcester? Well the two times I've tried "walking-in" I was sent away as they were all booked up with prior appointments!!!!

Why do we not go to the GP? - because they are usually closed or have no appointments.

Why do we not ask a pharmacist? - they are shop-keepers who sell drugs, I want a doctor.

If they want people to stop using A&E then stick a minor injuries on the same site open the same hours. When you arrive you are triaged and then go to Minor Injuries or A&E. It is simple really, doesn't require any surveys, consultant reports etc. etc. just common sense and a (very) small amount of understanding human nature.
I can never understand why the people who run the NHS are so thick. Why do people go to A&E rather than minor injuries? Well if I lived in Worcester I'm not going to go to Malvern, Evesham, Bromsgrove and Tenbury, or Kidderminster when there is a hospital in Worcester am I? Why do we not go to the walk-in clinic in Worcester? Well the two times I've tried "walking-in" I was sent away as they were all booked up with prior appointments!!!! Why do we not go to the GP? - because they are usually closed or have no appointments. Why do we not ask a pharmacist? - they are shop-keepers who sell drugs, I want a doctor. If they want people to stop using A&E then stick a minor injuries on the same site open the same hours. When you arrive you are triaged and then go to Minor Injuries or A&E. It is simple really, doesn't require any surveys, consultant reports etc. etc. just common sense and a (very) small amount of understanding human nature. Hwicce
  • Score: 19

4:20pm Wed 8 Jan 14

nerdybird1 says...

Gronow wrote:
O.K. so you break your rm at 10.30 pm, where do you go other than A & E?
and if there is an alternative how do you find out?
they not asking people with broken bones not to go but people with bit of flu and sore toe etc the walkin centre at farrier house can deal with monor injuries, if a and e wasn't clogged up with fools with twisted ankles cos they bin on the sherbet we wud not have such horrendous waiting times
[quote][p][bold]Gronow[/bold] wrote: O.K. so you break your rm at 10.30 pm, where do you go other than A & E? and if there is an alternative how do you find out?[/p][/quote]they not asking people with broken bones not to go but people with bit of flu and sore toe etc the walkin centre at farrier house can deal with monor injuries, if a and e wasn't clogged up with fools with twisted ankles cos they bin on the sherbet we wud not have such horrendous waiting times nerdybird1
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Wed 8 Jan 14

grumpy woman says...

I sat in a corridor at A &E with an elderly relative who had had a possible stroke for nearly 4 hours before a cubicle became available. Our total time in A&E was over 12 hours because no beds were available. And this was no minor injury. During our time in the corridor nobody checked on my relative. The staff were great but just could not keep up with demand.
I sat in a corridor at A &E with an elderly relative who had had a possible stroke for nearly 4 hours before a cubicle became available. Our total time in A&E was over 12 hours because no beds were available. And this was no minor injury. During our time in the corridor nobody checked on my relative. The staff were great but just could not keep up with demand. grumpy woman
  • Score: 1

8:03pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Jabbadad says...

That non treatment for a possible stroke is totally unaceptable, since the quicker the treatment for a stroke is started the recovery is a lot better, so 4 hours is unquestionably bad service.
But as to the criticism of the Farrier Street Walk In Centre, on the occasions that I have taken people there without an appointment (which you can ring up for or go on line) we were told that an appointment was required, but we could make an appointment at the desk, then wait for someone to be able to see us. Each time was less than 30 minutes. And very good service / medical advicw was given.
That non treatment for a possible stroke is totally unaceptable, since the quicker the treatment for a stroke is started the recovery is a lot better, so 4 hours is unquestionably bad service. But as to the criticism of the Farrier Street Walk In Centre, on the occasions that I have taken people there without an appointment (which you can ring up for or go on line) we were told that an appointment was required, but we could make an appointment at the desk, then wait for someone to be able to see us. Each time was less than 30 minutes. And very good service / medical advicw was given. Jabbadad
  • Score: 1

10:33pm Wed 8 Jan 14

IanMurray says...

A&E departments are split into three areas, minor injury, major injury & critical emergency. Management need to focus on having enough resources to deal with the demand. If they cannot due this in The Royal then the NHS needs to open or reopen A&E departments elsewhere. While being forced into having to open nearly 100 extra beds in the main hospital suggests that many of these patients were in great need if emergency care.
A&E departments are split into three areas, minor injury, major injury & critical emergency. Management need to focus on having enough resources to deal with the demand. If they cannot due this in The Royal then the NHS needs to open or reopen A&E departments elsewhere. While being forced into having to open nearly 100 extra beds in the main hospital suggests that many of these patients were in great need if emergency care. IanMurray
  • Score: 0

11:32pm Wed 8 Jan 14

spider666 says...

Didn't help my father on boxing day --89 years old and suffered a mild heart attack and also found to have pneumonia and then had the indignity of spending nearly 4 hours on a trolley in a corridor along with around 6 other waiting patients.As one was wheeled away to be seen so another joined the queue --absolutely disgusting.--On a good note the staff were brilliant and could not have been more professional yet caring so hats off to them.
Didn't help my father on boxing day --89 years old and suffered a mild heart attack and also found to have pneumonia and then had the indignity of spending nearly 4 hours on a trolley in a corridor along with around 6 other waiting patients.As one was wheeled away to be seen so another joined the queue --absolutely disgusting.--On a good note the staff were brilliant and could not have been more professional yet caring so hats off to them. spider666
  • Score: 0

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