AN NHS trust has been moved to the highest risk level code ‘Black’ as unprecedented demand continues.
Hospitals and GPs across NHS Lanarkshire are facing huge pressure for beds and are struggling with staff shortages.
Staff at University Hospital Monklands are pictured attending to a coronavirus patient back in FebruaryCredit: Getty
It comes just days after NHS Grampian, Lanarkshire and the Borders requested help from the military as Covid pressures continue to mount.
A ‘Code Black’ status means that hospitals are at full capacity as a result of mounting pressure and during the pandemic several hospitals in Scotland entered this territory.
Bosses in the area have now said that operations will have to be delayed for some cancer patients.
Laura Ace, strategic commander and deputy chief executive, said NHS Lanarkshire is currently at ‘critical occupancy levels’ across three acute hospitals.
She explained: “The sustained pressure continues across our three acute hospitals and is showing no signs of easing.
“We are facing relentless pressures, bed shortages and staff shortages due to sickness, stress and self-isolation and University hospitals Hairmyres, Monklands and Wishaw are all at maximum capacity.
“The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority and we are working through short and medium term actions to increase staffing and also improve the flow of patients out of hospital. The military are providing additional support within our hospitals.”
In July NHS Grampian bosses confirmed that Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in the Granite City and Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin were both at capacity.
At the end of August, the trust temporarily postponed the majority of non-urgent planned care procedures.
In Scotland, 2,355 people are testing positive each day with the virus and 60 people a day are currently being admitted to hospital, government data states.
Ms Ace said the current pressures mean the trust is having to stand down elective (planned) procedures including some cancer procedures – which will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
She added: “The current situation is unprecedented and marks a different level of risk for NHS Lanarkshire as a whole and moves our current status to the highest level of risk.
“We issued a message on social media this week warning patients to expect long waits at A&E as they are overwhelmed by the number patients attending and needing admitted.
REDUCE THE PRESSURE
“This means patients are having to wait much longer to be seen that we would like, and well in excess of our target of four hours. A high number of these patients need to be admitted which is causing severe pressures throughout our hospitals.
“To help free up hospital beds, we have also asked for any assistance from family members to allow us to discharge people home or to interim care placements as soon as possible.”
She added that pressures are being felt across the whole health service and praised staff for ‘doing everything they can’.
“We hope that the current actions being taken will help reduce the pressures on our staff and services in the coming days”, she said.
Earlier this week GPs said they were ‘too busy’ with other jobs to be giving out booster vaccines.
GPs have also threatened to strike in protest at plans to name and shame them in league tables.
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