AN ACTION plan has been drawn up to make sure only genuine emergency cases are taken to A&E this winter.
South Central Ambulance Service has devised a nine-point scheme to ease the pressure on hospitals as they see an influx of patients during the winter months.
It includes improving access to mental health care, employing and training more specialist paramedic roles and having more experts manning the phones.
It comes as 37 patients were taken to other hospitals in a recent two-week period as Queen Alexandra Hospital’s A&E struggled with demand:
n On October 28, between 11am and 2pm, seven patients were diverted – six to Southampton and one to Chichester.
n On November 2, between 9pm and 11pm, nine patients were diverted – eight went to Southampton and one to Chichester.
n On November 5, from 9.45am to 11.11am, eight patients were diverted – seven went to Southampton and one to Chichester.
n On November 7, from 12.48pm to 4pm, 13 patients were diverted – ten went to Southampton, two people went to Chichester, and one to Guildford.
Latest figures show that in September, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, saw, treated or discharged just under 80 per cent of patients in four hours.
The government benchmark is for trusts to achieve this 95 per cent of the time – a marker the trust has missed for the past two years.
A trust spokesman said: ‘A decision to divert emergency patients is not taken lightly, and is only taken after in-depth discussion with our NHS partners, to ensure our highest levels of patient safety can be maintained.
‘Winter is always a challenging time and our emergency department has been exceptionally busy with an unprecedented number of very sick, frail and elderly patients needing urgent care.
‘The department is seeing a sustained increase in attendances with routinely more than 300 patients attending each day.
‘We would ask patients to think twice and choose well before coming into A&E.
‘By considering some of the alternative options for medical care, you will reduce the demand on the department.’