'Critical incident' stood down at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

An internal critical incident at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been stood down.

Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 5:37 pm

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust instigated the alert on January 4 due to "operational challenges across the organisation".

These included Blackpool Victoria Hospital running at "full capacity", long waits in A&E and "high staff sickness absence levels of above 10 per cent."

Outbreaks of Covid in the community also resulted in more people being admitted to the hospital each day than those discharged.

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But today (January 11) the trust confirmed there was no longer an internal critical incident in place but added it continued to "closely manage all operations across all sites".

Meanwhile, the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay, which covers Lancashire and Cumbria, also said pressures had eased and officially stepped down its critical incident.

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Aaron Cummins, the Trust's Chief Executive, said: "We have now put into place all of the actions being in a critical incident allow so it is the right time to officially step it down."

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said there was no longer an internal critical incident in place

"Whilst stepping down the incident is positive news and a real testament to colleagues across our services, teams will continue to work together to focus on the actions we have put into place to ensure we can provide safe services for patients and the best possible work environment for colleagues."

Mr Cummins said the actions taken by staff at the trust to try to relieve the pressures were starting to make "a small but important impact".

This included opening a specialist Covid ward at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary with capacity for 15 patients - allowing space elsewhere in the hospital for patients with other conditions.

Staff at the trust, and their families, were given better access to PCR tests to allow them to get their results quickly.

While the sickness rate remains at 12 per cent, that level hasn't increased as had been feared at the start of the year.

"Whilst this is still a lot higher than we would usually see, it doesn't currently seem to be increasing at the rate we expected," Mr Cummins added.

A critical incident allows hospitals to suspend non-urgent operations and divert resources to tackle a crisis.

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