Nottingham University Hospitals Trust’s Chief Executive has apologised following the cancellation of a number of operations while the trust deals with a ‘critical incident’ due bed space pressures.
This week, more than 200 patients across the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital have been deemed ‘medically fit for discharge’ – but cannot leave the hospital because there is not enough support for them in the social care sector.
The trust – which runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital – said the emergency demand for care and the challenge of discharging patients is leading to “high numbers of patients waiting in the hospitals”.
It means some operations where patients require a stay in hospital will be postponed to prioritise patients with the most urgent need.
Last week the health secretary Thérèse Coffey announced that £500m emergency funding would be given to care home operators and providers of home care services to help tackle a care crisis across the country.
The critical incident at Nottingham’s hospitals was declared on Tuesday (September 27).
Speaking in a board meeting on Thursday (September 29), Chief Executive Anthony May said: “I was involved in the decision to declare the incident and I took advice from colleagues.
“The reason for that is pressures across the trust were affecting our ability to provide an effective emergency pathway.
“Everybody in the trust is now focused on trying to alleviate those pressures.
“I would like to apologise to the small number of patients whose procedures we have cancelled and to anybody who has suffered delays in any other part of our hospitals.
“We are working tirelessly, literally day and night to try and make this better.
“I would like to thank the staff who have worked extremely hard and I would like to pay tribute to our partners.”
Chair of the trust board Nick Carver said it was important to “absolutely rigorously hold ourselves to account, but also hold the system to account for those things that are frankly beyond our control”.
He said: “During the last week we have had 213 patients medically fit for discharge who do not need to be in this hospital.
“The system target is 64. That’s fundamental to claw back on elective [planned] activity.
“The pressure on staff in the emergency department is not due to an increase in demand, it is due to a flow problem.
“There are 150 more patients beyond the system plan in this organisation at this moment in time.
“Our staff are doing their utmost to make sure we don’t have that awful situation where an ambulance cannot be mobilised to someone in need. That for me is the worst of all situations.”
In a statement, the trust added: “We are extremely sorry we have had to take this step.
“We are working extremely hard to ensure our patients are kept safe but there are ways that you can help.
“Our teams are working exceptionally hard, and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that despite the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if someone requires urgent medical help, they should continue to come forward.”