NHS board facing 'relentless' pressure as patients urged to stay away from A&E

NHS Lanarkshire say its hospitals are facing 'relentless' pressure

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A health board is urging patients not to attend Accident and Emergency departments unless their condition is urgent or life-threatening.

NHS Lanarkshire says its hospitals are facing “relentless” pressure, with the situation not easing.

Lanarkshire added its three acute hospital sites are beyond full with capacity regularly at over 100 percent.

The board’s executive medical director Dr Jane Burns blamed a record number of Covid-19 patients as the reason for the latest advice.

An Accident and Emergency department sign
An Accident and Emergency department sign

She said: “There are a number of reasons for the current relentless pressures on Lanarkshire hospitals but primarily it is the number of patients requiring treatment both with and without Covid.

“Our three acute hospital sites are beyond full with capacity regularly over 100 percent. This has been the case for a number of weeks and the situation is not easing. In fact, this week hospitals across Scotland including Lanarkshire have seen a record number of Covid patients.

“Unfortunately, this is resulting in many patients in our emergency departments waiting well in excess of our target of four hours for a condition that could have been treated by another healthcare service. It is also putting pressure on how quickly we can admit patients who require emergency care.

NHS Lanarkshire has provided the latest advice
NHS Lanarkshire has provided the latest advice

“The rising Covid number is also having a severe knock-on effect to our staff. We have high staff absences due to Covid and self-isolation which is resulting in challenges across all our health services and our staff are struggling to cope.”

Dr Burns has urged people to use other services, including minor injuries units, local GP’s or pharmacies if their condition is not serious.

She added: “If someone does have to come to one of our emergency departments, they need to be prepared to face long waits to be seen, in some instances several hours.

“This can lead to patients getting frustrated with our staff but we ask that people be patient and be kind and considerate to our staff.

“We are working extremely hard in very difficult circumstances to do the very best we can for each and every one of our patients.”

Latest official figures released this week showed that the number of people waiting more than four, eight and 12 hours at Scotland’s emergency departments has hit its highest recorded level.

Responding to the figures, the Scottish Government said: “Unfortunately, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has now reached the highest level since the start of the pandemic and this rise in recent weeks has inevitably had an impact on services like A&E.”