UPDATED STATEMENT (WEDNESDAY, 3 JANUARY, 2018 - 10am)
HIGH NUMBERS of acutely unwell patients continue to be admitted via Milton Keynes University Hospital’s Emergency Department.
Additional beds are open throughout the hospital in order to admit patients who need specialist acute care as quickly and safely as possible. This includes using surgical wards fully and using the hospital’s day surgery unit and other suitable clinical areas to admit patients attending the hospital as emergencies. These ‘escalation areas’ all have safe and appropriate nursing and medical cover.
The hospital has seen higher than usual numbers of ambulances, and has been working well with South Central Ambulance Service to avoid delays in ambulance handovers.
On average, the hospital’s Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centre has seen approximately 450 patients every day. The Emergency Department is seeing more patients who are more clinically unwell than usual. The majority of these patients are elderly and suffering from medical conditions, including respiratory and cardiac illness and acute infections. A number are also suffering bone fractures following falls.
The Emergency Department has remained open at all times. The hospital currently has no ward closures due to infective illnesses like norovirus (vomiting and diarrhoea virus). The hospital has seen a number of patients with influenza, but numbers of patients with the flu virus seeking acute care are currently average for the time of year.
Chief Executive of Milton Keynes University Hospital, Professor Joe Harrison, said: “The hospital remains under pressure, with high numbers of patients who are more unwell than usual. That means our Emergency Department is seeing patients who are clinically sicker than is typical and therefore need admitting to the hospital.
“This puts significant strain on hospital beds and means we are using escalation areas – or extra beds – across the hospital in order that patients can be admitted as quickly as possible and safely cared for.
“We have planned extensively for the predictable period of high demand around Christmas and into the New Year. Although we remain under significant pressure – and are likely to for some time – it is thanks to the massive efforts of our staff that we continue to provide safe care.
“We are not in a crisis, but have experienced days where our capacity has been stretched beyond normal limits. This pressure is undoubtedly challenging for staff to work under, particularly for sustained periods of time.
“I am very grateful to and proud of how hard our staff work and their unwavering commitment to patient care. I know it is not enough to simply say thank you - those who do the caring do, in turn, need to be cared for and supported to work safely, without intolerable stress.
“We strive to provide that support to our staff through peer networks and an extensive health and wellbeing service. We also strongly encourage staff to report concerns about safety – both of patients and in their working environments. I would add that anyone using the hospital in any capacity can report concerns via the Patient Advice and Liaison Office or ward/ departmental staff.
“Finally, I would add that patients who are booked for planned operations or procedures may experience these being postponed when demand for emergency care is particularly high. I appreciate how difficult and upsetting this can be for those affected and we will do our utmost to keep postponements to a minimum.”
Regular updates will continue to be posted on our website.