QA Hospital: Critical incident declared - again - by Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust

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A new critical incident has been declared at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust has today said the hospital and the emergency department are full and struggling to cope. It says that the demand for urgent care in the area is ‘far outstripping’ the capacity available.

To ease the pressure, the hospital has asked people to take their relatives or friends home as soon as they declared ready to leave, in order to free up beds.

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Queen Alexandra Hospital  Picture Habibur RahmanQueen Alexandra Hospital  Picture Habibur Rahman
Queen Alexandra Hospital Picture Habibur Rahman

The trust’s medical director John Knighton said: ‘As soon as a person is medically ready to leave hospital, they should be discharged to their place of residence. Every time one patient leaves hospital it helps a further four patients move through the hospital to ensure they get the care they need in a timely way. This means the emergency department is free for those that need lifesaving care, and ambulances are able to quickly return to the community to provide emergency support to people.’

Chief nurse Liz Rix added: ‘We know that the longer a patient stays in hospital the greater the risk of deconditioning where immobility and inactivity causes muscle weakness, walking difficulty and an increased risk of falls and injury.

‘At a time when our services are really stretched the extra support patients receive from those closest to them can really help with their recovery and returning to good health and independence. Just making sure your relative or friend is home safe, will not only help them recover but help us to care for another Portsmouth person who needs a hospital bed.’

The hospital declared a critical incident on Tuesday, December 20 in similar circumstances. It said then that it was full, with record numbers of people attending the emergency department, and that ambulances were having to queue for several hours to discharge patients because the hospital was so busy.

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Later that day a critical incident – defined as when a health organisation can no longer cope with its workload, meaning that critical care cannot be guaranteed and patients may be at risk – was declared across health organisations in Hampshire, including South Central Ambulance Service and at Southampton General Hospital. The critical incidents were lifted on Friday, December 23.

More information about patients leaving hospital can be found at