Top hospital declares critical incident over 'significant pressures' –

One of London’s top trauma centres has declared a ‘critical incident’ today as it struggles to cope with unprecedented demand.
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which offers services for more than 3.5 million, is one of the country’s largest acute NHS trusts.
The Tooting hospital announced a critical incident owing to ‘significant pressures on flow within our hospital and need to discharge a number of patients’, according to a letter sent this morning to staff.
St George’s chief operating officer Tara Argent told staff to do what they can to ‘identify patients who can be discharged home or to an alternative care setting in a safe and timely way’.
The trust said on its website: ‘Our emergency departments (EDs) and hospitals are under extreme pressure right now and we expect them to continue to be very busy over the coming months.
‘We absolutely don’t want our patients to be waiting for long periods of time and our teams are working hard to ensure people coming to ED are seen as quickly as possible.
‘But right now – like all parts of the NHS – we are not always able to provide the level of care we would like, and we are very sorry this is the case.’
People are advised to do what they can to help struggling trusts by accessing care using or by contacting their GP or local pharmacy.
An acute NHS trust provides life-saving services such as A&E, inpatient and outpatient treatments and specialist medical care.
If an NHS trust declares a ‘critical incident’ this means health bosses are worried they can’t provide critical services for patients.
And such incidents have been declared up and down the UK as the NHS faces increasing pressure over and beyond the festive period.
A dozen NHS trusts and ambulance providers reported red alerts over the holidays, with officials citing rising flu cases prompting delays and overcrowding.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) estimates that 300 to 500 people a week are dying as a result of emergency care waits.
Health services still carrying the scars from Covid-19 have been pulled apart by years of staff shortages and government underfunding, medics say.
This is leading to spiralling ambulance and emergency care waiting times and scenes of countless patients left on trolleys in hospital corridors for hours.
While stories of people waiting hours for ambulances become increasingly common.
Healthcare workers who have moved to strike over pay, among other things, say these deteriorating working conditions are pitting patient health on the line.
Beds are few and far between due to a lack of funding, with just two beds for every 1,000 Brits according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
But government officials have pointed fingers at flu, Covid-19 and fears over Strep A as why the NHS is fraying at the seams.
No 10 insisted yesterday that the NHS is getting the ‘funding it needs’ and shrugged off pleas that the NHS is ‘in crisis’.
The prime minister’s spokesman told journalists yesterday: ‘We have been upfront with the public, long in advance of this winter, that, because of the pandemic and the pressures it’s placed in the backlog of cases, that this would be an extremely challenging winter.
‘And that is what we are seeing.’
Health leaders, however, say the government is in denial about what’s at hand.
RCEM vice-president Dr Ian Higginson told Times Radio: ‘There seems to be almost a battle of machismo and denial going on.’
‘The organisations and political leaders who have the power and the ability to make change are simply trying to push back,’ he added, ‘and for whatever motivation not accept that, there’s a real problem.’
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