May 20 2013 Latest news:
BY LIZZIE PARRY, health reporter
Monday, March 11, 2013
AMBULANCES bound for Ipswich Hospital were forced to divert to West Suffolk during a “hugely busy” period – which one staff member called a “severe bed crisis”.
IPSWICH Hospital bosses said during busy periods members of the public can do their bit by ensuring they choose the right health service.
Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said, in the run up to the Easter weekend, the trust is urging the community to consider whether their local pharmacy, the out- of- hours GP service or minor injuries clinic might offer a better route to recovery.
“Our message to our community is that we are very grateful for their fantastic support, it really makes a difference to us.
“But if you think you might need to come into the emergency department, unless it is life-threatening, it is worth considering your other options. “There is the minor injuries clinic here at the hospital, the out of hours GP service and your local pharmacy can often offer good advice.
“By choosing the right service, patients will reduce the length of times they have to wait getting the help they need in the quickest time possible.”
For three hours on Thursday night, bosses at Ipswich Hospital had to request emergencies were taken to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.
Twenty-six beds were opened the same night as senior managers and directors came in to deal with the influx of patients.
Hospital spokeswoman Jan Ingle said while the number of patients coming into the Garrett Anderson’s emergency department was around the average 220 they see each day, the problem arose in other parts of the hospital where more patients are being admitted requiring care for “very complex needs”.
Mrs Ingle said since February 23 the hospital has seen a sharp increase in the number of elderly patients who are “severely ill”.
“We were really very busy on Thursday night,” she said.
“Every hospital in the region is facing the same pressure. It is a combination of factors – the weather but also the growing number of elderly patients we have seen coming in with complex needs.
“We do need to be better at managing patient flow. But with a growing number of elderly patients, their discharge is dependent on whether they can be moved safely to the community – we are working closely with social services and other agencies.”
A member of the hospital staff contacted The Star to raise concerns over the issue.
He said: “They were unable to accept any admissions and ambulances were being forced to take their patients to the West Suffolk Hospital.
“The up-coming privatisation of Suffolk community healthcare and the inevitable job losses will only make things worse.
“Ipswich Hospital is in a severed bed crisis.”
Mrs Ingle said during the three-hour period when ambulances were asked to take patients to West Suffolk Hospital, only two had to do so.
“This is a very rare occurrence,” she added. “It has happened before but certainly not this year.”
She said there are plans in place to increase staffing levels in the emergency department.
“We are working really hard to make sure there are enough staff in accident and emergency.
“Staff have been working tremendously hard and we are very grateful to them all and a special thanks goes to everyone coming in to work this weekend, when they would be spending time with their families on Mothering Sunday.”
Are you concerned by the decision to divert patients? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email starnews@ archant.co.uk