Warwick Hospital declared 'major incident' over patient levels

By Steve Hayes 16/04 Updated: 24/04 14:51

BOSSES at Warwick Hospital recently had more patients than they could cope with and had to declare a 'major incident'.

Papers seen by the Observer reveal South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) called only the second major incident in the last decade, on March 1, as the number of patients exceeded capacity at the Lakin Road hospital.

In the papers, which were recently presented to the trust's board, the situation on the morning of March 1 was described as 'very severe' with the hospital holding 30 more patients than its 411 capacity.

And during March the trust had the highest ever number of emergency admissions to A&E - 568 more than the previous month.

Chief executive, Glen Burley, told the Observer the hospital has seen an increase in the number of people requiring emergency care recently.

He said: "On March 1 we took the decision to declare an internal major incident in response to the growing bed pressures within the hospital.

"An internal major incident was declared within the hospital when the level of emergency patients started to exceed the available capacity of the hospital

"To declare a major incident is a rather unusual step and indeed is the first time that I have decided to do so in my time in the organisation."

The report revealed the hospital was so badly over capacity all of the areas which hold extra patients were also full, including maternity beds. Twelve patients even spent the night in accident and emergency department.

All of this forced director of operations, Jane Ives, into setting up a major incident room to manage the situation.

Support from Warwickshire County Council was requested and senior members of the social care team were brought on site and assisted with the discharge of 30 patients.

Mr Burley insisted the trust was now working on measures on how to manage the increased demand.

He said: "By declaring an incident, it enabled internal processes with staff and external processes with our partners to be enhanced.

"For example, the trust worked closely with social services to ensure that suitable patients were safely discharged.

"This resulted in us safely discharging an appropriate number of patients on the same day that the incident was declared.

"The Trust has devised some short term actions and is currently developing a longer term plan, as well as working in partnership with our social care and primary care colleagues in order to manage any further pressures."

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