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We’ve made careful plans, say Whittington chiefs as wards hit capacity

Hospital apologise to six patients after having to cancel surgical cases

11 January, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

THE Whittington Hospital has insisted that it has made “careful plans” to cope with increased winter demand as some wards reach total bed capacity.

In the first week of January, all of the general and acute beds, including up to 50 extra beds made available by the Archway hospital, were occupied by patients on three days.

The same happened on six days during December. On most days since the start of last month more than 95 per cent of the hospital’s 197 beds and up to 46 ‘escalation’ beds were full. The hospital trust said A&E attendances had increased compared to the same time last year. It had also had an increase in ambulance attend­ances.

The hospital apologised to six patients after having to cancel surgical cases.

It is prioritising cancer and urgent surgery and those who have had exceptionally long waits. This follows health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s apology after non-urgent surgery had to be postponed nationwide due to extra pressure on the health service.

In a statement, Whittington Heath NHS Trust said: “We have established a dynamic patient waiting list, and when we know we can operate on non-urgent cases we call patients who are on our waiting list who have agreed they can come in for surgery at short notice. All of these measures mean that we are redirecting our staff to support emergency flow through our services.”

It added: “We have continued to operate on cases that require day surgery – this allows us to ensure in-patient beds are available for the sickest of people, while not delaying surgery for this group of people.”

The Trust has increased the number of staff in “key roles”, including making district nurses available 24 hours, seven days a week. It has asked residents to act responsibly when considering the use of NHS services.

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