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Hospital steps up to meet winter pressures

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Winter pressure plans are being activated at Noble’s Hospital in response to a steady rise in patient admissions. 

Plans to deal with a surge in demand over the winter months are prepared annually, and this year include the pressures of COVID 19 preparedness. 

The number of daily admissions through the Emergency Department at Noble’s has been rising steadily in recent weeks and is higher than average when compared to the same period last year. The hospital is also managing a change in the way care is delivered as a result of hospital pressures in the UK, which is also affecting capacity on the Island. As a result it is now appropriate to implement agreed measures to mitigate the situation. 

An early response to rising demand for acute hospital services is the suspension of non-urgent surgery, and consequently from Friday 27 November, elective orthopaedic operations at Noble’s will be temporarily suspended. This will create much needed additional bed capacity and allow staff to be deployed where the need is greatest. Emergencies will be dealt with as normal, and day cases, clinics and minor injuries will continue to be dealt with by the Orthopaedic team. 

Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said:

‘It is very regrettable that we have had to cancel some elective operations and I understand patients’ frustration, especially those who have been waiting some time. We do have to act now though, to ensure we are well prepared to treat seriously ill patients whose treatment cannot wait. Our winter planning exercise was drawn up for this situation, which is compounded by the backlog of cases left by the pandemic, and pressures on the UK system.’ 

He added:

‘I offer an apology to anyone who will be inconvenienced or upset by this measure. I would also like to thank our doctors, nurses and wider healthcare staff for their outstanding efforts at this time. We are working hard to meet demand and will restore suspended services as soon as we can.’ 

Patients admitted to Noble’s on their return from treatment in UK hospitals require isolation, and until now have been cared for in side rooms, separate from the wards. In order to optimise space and staff resources, patients requiring isolation, including those awaiting Covid test results, will be cared for in Ward 1. Reconfiguring the ward in this way will also allow for the admission of any of small number of people who have tested positive while self-isolating at home, should they need hospital care. 

An additional measure will see increased focus on maintaining an efficient flow of patients through the hospital, prioritising those who need to be prepared for discharge. 

Hospital admissions and arrivals at the Emergency Department are being monitored closely so that the hospital can respond swiftly and effectively as the situation changes. Members of the public should treat any symptoms or concerns as they normally would, usually consulting their GP or local pharmacist in the first instance. Anyone suffering chest pains or breathlessness or in a medical emergency should access emergency services by calling 999.