Pressure on Croydon Hospital A&E comes to a head as it announced “major internal incident” this morning

Croydon University Hospital. Pic: Croydon Health Services Trust.

Croydon University Hospital. Pic: Croydon Health Services Trust.

Croydon University Hospital has now revised the announcement of a “major internal incident”, due to pressure on its A&E department, which it made this morning.

Croydon became the first London hospital to announce a major incident at 7:00am today, as the hospital was forced to introduce a “series of actions to help meet increased demand.”

The announcement followed the admission of more patients than available beds, reports state. The trust had, however, “stepped down” its incident status by mid-afternoon.

Croydon University Hospital follows a number of other hospitals across England which have relied on emergency measures this week to cope with growing pressure on their services.

Such declared “incidents” mean that a hospital has been exceptionally busy and vital extra measures have been required. This may mean cancelling planned operations and asking patients to come to A&E only in a “genuine emergency”.

Last resorts can also include diverting ambulances away from the hospital. This has not yet happened at Croydon University Hospital, nor has the site been forced to cancel any pre-arranged operations.

The trusts’ major incident announcement comes on the same day it was revealed that NHS England A&E performance for waiting times had dropped to its lowest level in a decade.  In October to December 2014, 92.6 per cent of patients in England were seen within four hours, which is lower than the government’s target of 95 per cent.

Despite this, Croydon University Hospital is so far the only London hospital to have declared a major internal incident.

A spokesperson for Croydon University Trust said: “We plan for a busy winter every year and we have taken this step to make sure we can continue to care for people quickly and safely.”

“We have many more staff at Croydon University Hospital than we had two years ago… but our staff are stretched. We are bringing our doctors and nurses together in the right places to care for patients and open up more hospital beds.  This includes having additional consultants to triage patients in A&E to get people the right care in the shortest time possible.  We are also working very closely with health services across Croydon to ensure there is on-going care and support available for our patients in the community or at home where appropriate.”

“We would urge everyone to only come to A&E or call 999 if you have a genuine emergency. This will help us to care for people with the most urgent health needs first.”

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