Hospitals facing unprecedented pressure

By Ian Dipple Thursday 09 January 2014 Updated: 11/01 01:29

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Buy photos » Pershore residents could face long journeys to Redditch's Alexandra Hospital. (s)

THE PRESSURE on the county's hospitals has been described as unprecedented as they continue to struggle with demand.

More than 1,000 people turned up at the A&E departments of the Worcestershire Royal and Alexandra Hospital between Saturday and Monday (January 4 to 6), with almost 300 being admitted. On Saturday alone Worcestershire Royal hospital received 98 ambulances, despite only forecasting 61 to turn up.

It prompted the Worcestershire Royal to be put on a level four escalation - the highest possible - for the second time in as many weeks before being downgraded earlier this week.

A total of 76 extra beds have been opened across the two hospitals over the last two weeks and another 12 were put in place at the Worcestershire Royal over the weekend to try and cope with the number of patients pouring through the door. The Alexandra Hospital is also coming under increasing pressure.

An appeal has also been made to patients with conditions such as cuts, grazes, wounds, sprains, strains, minor burns and broken bones to attend the Minor Injuries Unit at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bromsgrove rather than A&E.

Stewart Messer, chief operating officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "Demand for A&E services across the both sites is at unprecedented levels. We are working with colleagues across the health and social care community to try and ease the situation.

"Across the county work is also being done to ensure easier access to community hospital and social care beds for those patients who no longer need acute hospital care. Patients can do their bit ensuring that they only come to A&E if it is absolutely necessary."

Despite efforts by commissioners to cut emergency demand figures show in the final three months of last year more than 34,000 people turned up at A&E, up 2.6 per cent on 2012 while there was almost a three per cent rise in the number of admissions through A&E which rose to 8,437.

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