Operations and appointments cancelled due to 'extreme pressure' at Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital
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Operations and appointments have been cancelled at Blackpool Victoria Hospital after bosses said the ‘numbers and sickness levels of patients has exceeded expectations’.

Extra medical and nursing staff have been drafted in, and more beds made available, because of the ‘extreme pressure’, the trust said.

It comes after hospital staff took to social media to warn of an ‘unprecedented’ number of patients.

One nurse said in a Facebook post that a ‘major incident’ had been declared. This was denied by trust bosses.

She claimed ‘corridors are overflowing with patients’ and that there was a ‘three hour wait for triage and nine hours before people are seen (I have been told).’

Another hospital worker tweeted: “We are seeing unprecedented numbers of patients.”

A spokesman for the Fylde coast NHS said: “We have not called a major incident but, like most parts of the country, local health services are under extreme pressure at this moment in time.

"Plans are made to cope with a rise in demand over winter but the demand at the moment has exceeded expectations in terms of numbers and the sickness levels of patients.

“Extra medical and nursing staff have been employed in all key areas and extra beds have opened at Blackpool Victoria Hospital."

The spokesman added: "We have so far postponed just over 20 non-urgent procedures as we have to prioritise patients who need urgent and emergency care.

"We would like to apologise to patients for any inconvenience but reassure them that we will reschedule as soon as possible and advise them accordingly.

"In the event that an operation or procedure does need to be re-arranged, we will contact patients individually.

"In the meantime, patients should attend their appointments as planned."

NHS staff were also praised for ‘working incredibly hard’.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised to those who have had their operations cancelled, though Prime Minister Theresa May rejected claims the NHS is in ‘crisis’, saying the health service is better prepared ‘than ever before’.

The comments come after NHS England urged hospitals to defer pre-planned operations and routine outpatient appointments until the end of the month due to severe winter pressures.

In a step to try to free up hospital staff and beds, NHS England also said the deferral of non-urgent inpatient elective care should be extended until January 31.

Mr Hunt said: “There are real pressures, no question about it.”

Have you had the flu jab?

Readers have been urged to get their flu jab.

The Fylde coast NHS statement added: "We would advise all members of the public, but especially the elderly, those who care for the elderly and those with long term conditions to get their flu jab.

“The uptake for the flu vaccine in children has been low this year and we would urge parents to consider this for their young ones."

More information is available on the NHS's website here.

Is A&E the best place to go?

Walk-in appointments are now available at both Blackpool Walk-In Centre in Whitegate Drive and the Fleetwood Same Day Health Centre in Dock Street.

These services should be the first port of call for anyone suffering urgent but not life-threatening health problems, such as strains or sprains, suspected broken limbs, minor head injuries, cuts and grazes or bites and stings.

Appointments with healthcare professionals including GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants are also now available in the evenings up until 9.30pm. These can be booked via all GP practices on the Fylde coast.

Local pharmacists are also qualified to deal with many health complaints and can be seen without an appointment.

Anyone unsure of what to do should call the free NHS 111 helpline for immediate advice.