NHS crisis (cont.) as 3 hospitals tell patients to stay away from A&E unless it’s ‘urgent’
BOSSES at one of Scotland’s largest health boards have told patients to stay away from their A&E departments unless they need ‘urgent’ medical help.
Staff at NHS Lanarkshire are under immense strain due to hundreds of patients turning to emergency services despite having only minor complaints.
Chiefs have recorded a large rise in patient numbers using accident and emergency (A&E) services at hospitals in the area.
The Mail understands there was a shortage of up to 200 beds there yesterday and
‘This chaos will only get worse into winter’
staff were under pressure to discharge as many patients as possible.
Sources said a ‘critical incident’ had been declared, such was the extent of the beds crisis, with concern rising that the problem could worsen over the holiday weekend in the west of Scotland. The board last night strongly denied this suggestion.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: ‘This chaos is obviously deeply frustrating and worrying for staff and patients, and will only get worse as we continue into winter. If NHS boards are having to take this action now, what will we see when winter pressures are in place?’
NHS Lanarkshire operates three major hospitals – University Hospital Hairmyres in East Kilbride, University Hospital Monklands in Airdrie, and University Hospital in Wishaw.
On some days, A&E services experienced increases of almost 20 per cent more patients than at this time last year.
Health chiefs have claimed the safety of patients and staff is being compromised by hundreds of people being treated on a daily basis by medical and nursing staff. This also results in long delays for patients who do need the services of an A&E department and should be getting earlier treatment.
Traditionally, winter is the busiest and most challenging time of the year for the NHS. However, A&E services have been under exceptional pressure throughout the summer and the fear is that attendances will continue to rise over the winter.
Patients are being encouraged to use alternative services such as NHS Inform, NHS 24, pharmacies who offer minor ailment services, a GP or a dentist. Calum Campbell, chief executive of NHS Lanarkshire, said: ‘We do not want to be seen to blame patients at all.’
But he added: ‘Our services are under immense pressure. It’s as if we are in the middle of winter.
‘I urge everyone to think carefully before attending our A&E services as a quicker, alternative solution could be the most effective answer, saving time and resources.
‘We need to ensure we continue to provide a safe environment for our patients and a safe place of work for all our staff.
‘There are literally hundreds of patients using our emergency services when they could be seeking help via NHS 24 or from their local pharmacy or GP practice. If someone has been involved in a serious accident, or a victim of an emergency, then go to our A&E services. If not, seek treatment from other local services.
‘Our redirection policy is being implemented and enforced by all our hospital staff with immediate effect so, unless you have suffered an accident or illness that requires the urgent services of an A&E department, then we urge patients not to go to our A&E.
‘If you do, you will either be redirected to one of our other services or face a lengthy wait whilst those who meet the criteria are seen first.’
This is down to SNP incompetence, and the NHS being starved of funding.
Every year, NHS Scotland gets extra money via Barnett Consequentials, but the SNP rarely passes on all of the money to NHS Scotland, despite having 100s of millions left over at the end of each fiscal year.
THIS is what you vote for when you vote SNP. They are the problem, not the solution.