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RELENTLESS PRESSURE: A&E’s busiest ever day

RELENTLESS PRESSURE: A&E’s busiest ever day

The Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, Image: NCJ Media

Emergency hospital care staff in Newcastle experienced their busiest ever day last week amid “relentless” pressure on NHS services.

Monday, September 27, was the busiest day on record as more than 800 patients came through the doors of the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s A&E department and the city’s Urgent Treatment Centres.

It comes after months of warnings over the major pressures still being felt by city hospital staff – with around 60 Covid patients still being treated, major sickness absences as a result of the virus and employees having to self-isolate, and a huge backlog of work.

In a blog post, Newcastle Hospitals chief executive Dame Jackie Daniel warned that the severe strain being caused by the high demand for emergency treatment was having a “significant impact” on efforts to reduce huge waiting lists that have built up during the Covid pandemic.

According to latest figures, more than 5,000 patients in the city have been waiting more than a year for their procedure.

Dame Jackie said: “The last fortnight has continued to be incredibly pressured right across the Trust.  Monday 27 September was our busiest ever day in the Emergency Department with over 800 attendances including 500 type 1 patients (those patients seen in the main RVI emergency department).

“I know that the whole organisation is impacted by this relentless pressure from urgent and emergency activity and this is continuing to have a significant impact on the elective recovery programme.

“I want to acknowledge the incredible effort that everyone is giving to support our patients, and I know that you are equally supporting each other in these difficult times.

“Please be assured that collectively we are working hard to help, whether that is by seeking new funding for new models of care and improvements, minimising the burden of administrative tasks and looking at ways to make life at work easier.

“I am particularly grateful to those who are working additional shifts and who have moved from their usual jobs to support their colleagues.”

The hospitals trust confirmed that there were a total of 805 people who required emergency care last Monday – 282 major trauma cases, 70 minor injuries, 148 paediatric patients, and 68 eye casualties at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, plus 237 people who went to walk-in clinics at one of Newcastle’s three Urgent Treatment Centres.

But the surge in demands comes as a lack of available staff has led to more than 100 beds at the RVI being temporarily closed.

Dame Jackie announced last week that 300 new nurses are set to start work on the city’s hospital wards in the coming months and said that health chiefs would need to be “bold” in expanding their workforce and facilities to cope with the colossal backlog of procedures.

A bid has been lodged with the Government to build a new £190m ‘Richardson Wing’ at the RVI that would house maternity, burns, critical care, and other specialist services.


Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter

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