Respiratory consultant and deputy medical director at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Mark Roland, warned that a rise in Covid among both patients and workers has led to a ‘very crowded’ emergency department and ‘huge queues’ for ambulances.
In a message to the public he asked people to use GPs, call 111 or attend urgent treatments centres where possible.
He said: ‘I’ve worked here in the hospital for 18 years and I’ve worked as a doctor in the NHS for 32 years now.
‘I have never seen it more difficult than it is at the present time. Our staff have been working flat out for the last few months now, right through the pandemic.
‘We have over 270 Covid patients in the hospital at the moment so Covid hasn’t gone away for us, it’s causing significant issues for us in terms of being able to use all of our beds.
‘Sickness is affecting our workforce and the workforce who support us including carers in the community. It’s all having a huge impact that’s actually translating into a very crowded emergency department and huge queues for ambulances.’
The most recent figures available from the NHS show there were 233 patients with Covid at QA Hospital on April 12.
On April 5 the number of hospital patients with the virus was at its highest in recent times, with 273 recorded. A month prior (March 5) this figure was 118.
It comes as QA Hospital, as well as the South Central Ambulance Service, declared a critical incident on April 6 due to ‘extreme pressures.’
Patients in non life-threatening conditions were told they would be turned away as all beds, and the emergency department, were full. At the same time high numbers of staff were off sick with Covid.
Similarly the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System also told The News that patients in the region who were well enough would be sent home - even if they were still testing positive for Covid - as almost every hospital bed in the county was full.
Mr Roland added: ‘We need you to try to use the emergency department and the ambulance service only for absolute emergencies.
‘For anything else, anything where you need advice, where you could have a conversation with somebody another day, where you do not need the full facilities of the acute hospital, please access help through primary care, call 111 or access one of the urgent treatments centres that are available across our geography, and the minor injuries units as well.’
According to government data there were 87 new cases of Covid recorded in Portsmouth on April 9.
This was down from 268 on March 9.