Peterborough City Hospital struggles to cope with patient numbers

Peterborough City Hospital exteriors EMN-141118-141223009
Peterborough City Hospital exteriors EMN-141118-141223009

Patients are being advised to seek care at Stamford Hospital as Peterborough City Hospital recovers from its health crisis.

The multi- million pound hospital, based in Bretton, Peterborough declared an “internal major incident” this week as medical staff struggled to cope with soaring patient numbers.

Patients have been advised to go to their local GP or minor injury unit to help free up services at the hospital whilst it recovers from the major incident.

Stamford Hospital has a minor injuries unit.

A spokeswoman from the Peterborough City Hospital Trust said: “The team at Stamford Hospital are more than happy to see any patient with minor injuries and we are encouraging people to use the Minor Injury Unit rather than the Emergency Department.”

The trust said that although patients are being directed to Stamford Hospital, the minor injuries unit there has not had an influx of patients due to the internal major incident at Peterborough City Hospital.

The internal major incident was declared on Monday, after the trust experienced high levels of admissions over the weekend but were unable to discharge as many patients as expected.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the spokeswoman said: “We have 19 people in the Emergency Department who need a hospital bed but we don’t have any vacant beds on the wards.

“But we do have 40 patients in hospital beds who are medically fit but who need other care in the community but we do not have anywhere to send them.

“By declaring a major incident we are appealing for help from our health partners in the community, such as Cambridgeshire Community Services Trust, Peterborough City Council, local GPs and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group.”

She said space would be created in other areas of the hospital to ensure patients were not left on trolleys in corridors.

The surge in patient numbers has also meant that some pre-planned operations were cancelled but all emergency operations and cancer surgery went ahead.

When a hospital declares a major incident or internal incident, it is a sign that things have got exceptionally busy and special measures are need to cope.

The declaration allows hospitals to call in extra staff to help them cope. The city hospital says it has been redeploying some staff to help out in the Emergency Department where feasible.

Yesterday, the trust downgraded to a “black alert” but people were still advised not to attend the accident and emergency department, unless they had a serious injury.

Stamford and Bourne MP Nick Boles also called for people to use the “health service responsibly and not bring relatively minor complaints to A&E” in his column.

Hospitals in Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, London and Surrey also declared major incidents at the beginning of the week, as well as Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

In a difficult week for Peterborough City Hospital, it was also announced that it had failed to meet the Government’s target that 95 per cent of emergency patients should be seen within four hours.

The Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust saw 83 per cent within four hours during the last quarter of last year.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed but we are doing all we can while under extreme pressures.”