Demand hits University Hospital operations

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“Significant winter pressures” led to University Hospital cancelling non-emergency operations and appointments for three days last week.

The decision was taken on Tuesday February 12 after the hospital experienced high demand from patients with complex conditions, according to the NHS trust that runs the hospital. It added that hospital teams had been working around the clock to free up beds.

David Eltringham, trust chief operating officer, said: “Winter is always a challenging time for the health service and we are well prepared for these peaks in demand. Our contingency plans are in place to make sure that we can deal with situations just like this one. We are working closely with local Clinical Commissioning Groups and West Midlands Ambulance Service to ensure that emergencies continue to be prioritised and receive the urgent care they need.”

The Trust contacted patients who were affected and asked people due for surgery last week to call the number provided in their patient letter to find out whether their operation has been postponed. Patients have also been advised to avoid using the hospital’s Accident and Emergency unit unless it’s a genuine emergency.

Mr Eltringham added: “Often people go to an emergency department when they could be seen and treated elsewhere, for example by their GP or a walk-in health centre. We would encourage the public to speak to pharmacies and NHS Direct if they need to get treatment or advice about minor ailments such as colds, coughs, sore throats, indigestion, minor cuts and bruises.”

Patients with minor complaints can also visit the walk-in service at St Cross. The department can treat cuts and grazes, broken bones, minor burns and scalds, bites and stings, strains and sprains, minor head injuries, and minor eye or ear problems.