Hospital trust declare ‘critical incident’ as A&E struggles to cope with influx of patients

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It comes as a second round of nursing strikes begins today, with paramedics also set to engage in industrial action this week

A hospital has declared a “critical incident” and cancelled a number of operations over A&E pressure. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NHU) said that a “large number of poorly people” were turning up at the Emergency Department with flu and injuries associated with cold weather, causing “very long waits” for patients.

Medical director of the NHU, Dr Keith Girling, said a number of planned operations where patients require a stay in hospital would be postponed to prioritise patients with the most urgent need. Despite some cancelled operations, day surgeries have been going ahead.

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Dr Girling added: "We regret that this will impact on patients who were due to receive planned care over the next few days and sincerely apologise to all those affected. These appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible. If we have not contacted you directly, please attend your appointment as planned.

"Our staff are working tirelessly during a period of exceptional pressure on our hospitals and I want to thank them for their continued hard work and dedication to our patients."

It comes as a second round of nurse strikes by members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) begins today (Tuesday, December 20),, with a dispute between the government and the RCN over pay and conditions ongoing. Paramedics from the East Midlands Ambulance Service are also set to strike on Wednesday (December 21).

Dr Girling told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that NHU’s A&E department was currently “one in, one out”. He added: "We have got a number of patients in the corridor and that’s far from ideal. Very sadly, we have had to defer some operations today because we have had to use beds in some surgical wards for medical patients."

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Speaking of the strike action, he went on: "It’s going to be a very difficult week, we are absolutely sighted of that. The teams are doing a fantastic job, they are working hard to give patients the best care they can.

"The big ask is if families can support patients that don’t need social care as soon as they are ready to come out, that would be really helpful to us."

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