Nottingham University Hospitals declare ‘critical incident’ due to exceptional pressures

Nottingham’s hospitals have declared a critical incident due to “exceptional pressures” on emergency services.

As winter pressures on A&E departments begin to mount across the UK, Nottingham said it was seeing high numbers of very poorly patients.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) said it was hearing similar stories from other hospitals.

Lisa Kelly, chief operating officer at Nottingham University Hospitals said: “This morning we have declared a critical incident.

“This is following a number of days seeing exceptional pressure across the system, with high numbers of very poorly patients arriving at our emergency department.

“This is not unique to Nottingham, and hospitals across the country are also experiencing similar pressures.

“We already have health and social care partners on site, so we continue to work closely with them to identify capacity in the community whilst focusing on prioritising timely discharges and getting patients ready for transport to create the capacity we need.”

NHS England no longer collects central data on hospitals declaring incidents relating to pressures on A&E, frequently referred to as “black alerts”.

President of the RCEM, Dr Katherine Henderson, said the organisation was “extremely concerned” about the stories it was hearing from its members about crowded departments.

“As the declaration of a critical incident at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust shows, winter has clearly arrived after minimal let up over the summer,” she said.

“Most departments are struggling to admit patients into hospital beds and offload ambulances.

“The result is that sick and elderly and frail people are spending hours waiting on trolleys in a noisy, undignified environment.

“We are calling on hospital boards to take action. There must be a focus on creating capacity within the hospital to get sick patients out of the emergency department.

“Long waits in emergency departments are associated with increased mortality.”

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