Pressure on the local health & social care services

St Mary's Hospital c 1990  Source unknown c 1990.

Urgent message from St Mary’s Hospital.

At 11:40am today (12 August), the Isle of Wight NHS. Trust declared a Major internal incident within the hospital and this afternoon, a system wide Black Alert was called.

This has resulted in all day surgery, routine and outpatient clinics at St Mary’s Hospital being cancelled from this afternoon. The exceptions are some children’s outpatient appointments, maternity services, oncology clinics and walk-in blood tests which will continue as planned, as below:

  • Paediatric outpatients and Hysteroscopy Clinic in Maternity are both continuing to run as normal.
  • The Phenylketonuria (PKU) Clinic in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will run as planned tomorrow (Thursday, 13 August)
  • Children’s Outpatients will run as planned tomorrow morning
  • Haematology clinics are still running as usual, although there may be some cancellations where patient transport is unable to collect patients
  • There is still a walk-in service for blood tests at St Mary’s Hospital
  • Patients should still attend oncology clinics at St Mary’s Hospital

All community service clinics, including those based at St Mary’s Hospital, are not affected by the current situation.

Please do not attend any healthcare setting if you have had symptoms of sickness and diarrhoea within the last 48 hours without seeking the advice of from the 111 service.

It is expected that routine appointments will also be cancelled for the remainder of this week. On Tuesday, we took the difficult decision that all elective (planned) operations would be cancelled for the remainder of this week.

This is to enable clinical staff to focus on setting up emergency clinics, to help us to continue to see urgent cases from the Emergency Department.

Why have we reached this situation?

We apologise to all patients who have had their appointment and/or procedure cancelled.  The decision to cancel any appointment or procedure is not taken lightly, or without full consideration of the potential impact to the patients concerned, however we have reached a point whereby patient safety may be compromised if we continue to accept patients. As the current demand on our services is too great, the hospital cannot continue to operate business as usual. We are, however, doing everything we can to prioritise our fast track cancer patients.

The situation is down to number of reasons, but it is mainly due to bed capacity in the hospital and in the community. We have around 14 medically fit patients who can’t move out of the hospital due to a lack of nursing home beds. A large number of nursing home beds have recently closed for a number of reasons. Other reasons include patients waiting to have a package of care in their own home.

What are we doing about it?

The Trust is continuing to work with the Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) local authority’s social service teams and the Island’s nursing and residential care homes to ensure those ready to leave hospital can be found appropriate placements.

Families and carers of patients who are fit to be discharged from hospital are being asked to do all they can to help ensure that their relatives and clients can leave hospital to be cared for in a more suitable environment as soon as they are ready. This may include supporting families to take their relative back to the mainland or supported care nearer to the relatives home.  It is well known that patients recover more quickly when in their own home or a non-hospital setting.

We are continuing to ask patients whether they would be willing to travel to the mainland for treatment or convalescence. We are also exploring whether there are any nursing care beds on the mainland for short term placement, that could accommodate patients who are ready to leave hospital.

We are very grateful for the support of our NHS workforce, partners and colleagues, including Age UK who have continued to help us ensure that patients who are medically fit can be allowed back home. This has included making sure those patients’ homes have the necessary equipment so that they can be safe in their own environments.

We are also increasing our nursing capacity to enable us to open more beds.

Medical Assessment Unit Events Cancelled

It is with regret that we have had to take the decision to cancel the Official Opening and Public Open Day of our new Medical Assessment Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th August. This is due to the significant and ongoing pressure our health services are experiencing.  We apologise for any inconvenience this cancellation may cause to those who were planning to attend.

Where to get advice for non life-threatening cases

A&E. and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.  Your local high-street pharmacy can help you deal with minor illnesses and complaints such as coughs, colds, flu, stomach upsets, aches and sprains.

If you feel it’s not a 999 emergency, but you need medical help fast, dial 111.  NHS. 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

Alternatively, to find out where your local NHS. services are, go to www.nhs.uk and use the service finder.

Advice for older people

We are advising elderly people:

  1. If you’re feeling under the weather, get help as soon as possible. See your local pharmacist or get advice from [www.nhs.uk/asap]. The earlier, the better.
  2. Speak to your friends, family or carer if you are feeling under the weather. They can help you to get advice from your local pharmacist or from [www.nhs.uk/asap]. The earlier, the better.
  3. If you have a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat, tell your friends, family or carer before it gets worse. The earlier, the better.
  4. Getting advice from your local pharmacist or by visiting [www.nhs.uk/asap]early may help prevent your bad cough, trouble breathing, cold, or sore throat from getting worse. The earlier, the better.
  5. Local pharmacists provide expert advice to help you manage your long-term condition or can even help you if you have a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat. They have longer opening hours than GP practices, and most have a private consultation area. They’ll also tell you if they think you should see a doctor.

We are advising the friends, families and carers of older people:

  1. If you are visiting or caring for an elderly relative or friend who is unwell, get advice from [www.nhs.uk/asap]or see your local pharmacist to help manage their care. The earlier, the better.
  2. If you know of an elderly relative or friend who has a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat, get advice from [www.nhs.uk/asap]or see your local pharmacist before it gets worse. The earlier, the better.
  3. If you’re feeling under the weather, get help as soon as possible. Get advice from [www.nhs.uk/asap]or see your local pharmacist. The earlier, the better.

Local pharmacists provide expert advice to help you manage your long-term condition or can even help you if you have a bad cough, trouble breathing, a cold or sore throat. They have longer opening hours than GP practices, and most have a private consultation area. They’ll also tell you if they think you should see a doctor.