Hospital bed occupancy hit 95% in December

Henrietta Strickland
January 13, 2018

While on New Year's Eve occupancy had risen to 94 per cent, compared to 92 per cent last year, despite hundreds more beds being open.

He again urged people only to go to A&E in an emergency, but stressed the current backlogs were not being caused by people turning up at hospital with mild conditions.

She said: "Health staff across Scotland are dedicated to helping patients and are doing a fantastic job in hard circumstances".

It means the system is under severe pressure and is unable to deliver certain actions and comprehensive emergency care.

New figures show nearly 17,000 people waited for more than 30 minutes in ambulances before being taken into A&E in the week leading up to New Year's Eve.

In a statement issued yesterday, the HSCB said that emergency departments across Northern Ireland "continue to be under significant pressure".

"But in the short term, our health service desperately needs a cash injection - by just putting a penny on income tax, an extra £6bn a year could be raised for the NHS and social care".

However, this is due to the high level of demand and we apologise to those patients who experienced lengthy waits.

We are reviewing this on a weekly basis and if there is a chance of an appointment or procedure being cancelled our teams will always look to speak to patients directly in advance.' Said a hospital spokesperson.

"Whilst we have cancelled some operations, and despite high levels of attendances at A&E, we would like to reassure the public that our outpatients appointments are running. We would therefore ask people only to attend our EDs in serious or life-threatening circumstances".

The British government-run National Health Service on Tuesday ordered every hospital in England to cancel all non-urgent surgeries in order to free up staff and beds for emergency patients.

The organisation warned that those with "less urgent conditions" would have to wait longer.

Representing the HSCB, Seamus O'Reilly, medical director of the Northern Trust, told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme: "It's not minor complaints that are clogging up our departments - it is genuinely sick elderly patients". "We had the sudden realisation that we were going to be waiting for some time and there were a lot of poorly people doing the same". "Measures have been taken and put in place to ensure that those most urgently in need of care are being treated, those measures were planned for", she said.

The prime minister, on a visit to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, said she recognised it was "difficult" for somebody who has had their operation postponed and hoped procedures could be rescheduled "as soon as possible".

Scarborough Hospital has been in the spotlight after a doctor spoke out about the pressures staff are facing.

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Richard Murray, director of policy at health think-tank the King's Fund, said: "Although these weekly data have not been fully validated, if they are right then hospital bed occupancy - a good proxy for the pressure hospitals are under - has been at even higher levels than previous year".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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