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Some A&E patients treated in waiting ambulances
10:46am Friday 18th January 2013 in News
THE trust which runs Fairfield Hospital in Bury has struggled to cope with a huge influx of patients, forcing some to be treated in waiting ambulances.
A report says ambulances have been forced to queue at hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments governed by the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust as they attempted to admit patients.
Figures have been released by the Department for Health to show how hospitals are coping with winter pressures.
The statistics show that, between December 21 and 26, 30 ambulances were had to queue and between December 28 and 30, 13 ambulances were delayed in handing patients over.
Bosses have admitted that a “very small number” of A&E patients had been treated in ambulances by doctors and paramedics, particularly at North Manchester and Oldham.
It was also revealed that 154 unoccupied beds had to be closed by the trust after an outbreak of the winter vomiting illness norovirus between December 17 and 30. On December 17, 30 unoccupied beds were closed by the trust — amongst the highest number in the country. The trust had already been forced to shut North Manchester Hospital to visitors following a significant outbreak of the virus on December 20.
The visiting restrictions have since been lifted.
Steve Taylor, divisional director for medicine at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust —- which manages Fairfield, North Manchester, Rochdale Infirmary and Royal Oldham hospitals — said 7:“Like many NHS trusts across Greater Manchester, our recent waiting time figures reflect the great pressure being placed on our A&E departments.
“Our priority is to ensure that patients get the treatment they need and our staff are working extremely hard to meet a significant increase in demand.”
He said in a two-week period, more than 9,500 patients had attended the trust’s three A&E departments, which includes Fairfield Hospital, with a significant number having “minor injuries and illness, mild flu symptoms and Norovirus.
Mr Taylor added: “Our staff have coped well. We have robust plans in place and extra doctors and nurses were booked and additional beds opened to cope with the demand.
“All patients brought to A&E by ambulance over the Christmas period were deemed a clinical priority and escorted by paramedic staff inside the emergency department before being handed over to staff.”
Dr Jimmy Stuart, clinical director for A&E at North Manchester General, said: “We often find ourselves dealing with patients who turn up to A&E with minor illness and complaints and could have been seen and treated elsewhere. These patients will usually be low priority.”