This site is intended for health professionals only

Delay all non-essential operations to help cope with demand increase, hospitals urged

Delay all non-essential operations to help cope with demand increase, hospitals urged

Hospitals have been urged to defer all non-essential operations to help cope with ‘demand surges’ in the New Year.
|

Hospitals have been urged to defer all non-essential operations to help cope with ‘demand surges’ in the New Year.

However, critical procedures and cancer operations should go ahead as planned, an emergency panel of NHS bosses recommended after a meeting yesterday (2 January).

National Emergency Pressures Panel (NEPP) suggested the measure to counteract ‘sustained pressure’ on the NHS over the Christmas period due to high levels of respiratory illness and bed occupancy levels.

The rise in pressure on hospitals has also been caused by early indications of increasing flu prevalence and some reports suggesting more severe illnesses among patients arriving at A&E departments.

Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should temporarily suspend sanctions for mixed sex accommodation breaches ‘to ensure patient safety comes first’, the panel urged.

NHS capacity is being increased following extra funds released in last year’s Autumn Budget, with a ‘significant proportion’ of this extra capacity to come into force over the next fortnight, NHS England said.

Recommendations for change

The panel recommended that hospitals use the time released by deferring procedures to:

  • Implement consultant triage at the front door so patients are seen by a senior decision maker on arrival at the emergency department.
  • Ensure consultant availability for phone advice for GPs.
  • Maximise the usage of ambulatory care and hot clinic appointments as an alternative to emergency department attendance and/or hospital admissions.
  • Increasing support from allied health professionals, for example physios and therapists, for rehabilitation and discharge.
  • Staff additional inpatient beds.
  • Ensure twice daily review of all patients to facilitate discharge.

Staff recognition

The panel also commended NHS staff  for their hard work, highlighting that winter plans including increases in staff flu vaccinations, improved times in helping patients return home when well enough, additional and capacity and priority given to A&E departments.

NEPP chair Sir Bruce Keogh said: ‘I want to thank NHS staff who have worked incredibly hard under sustained pressure to take care of patients over the Christmas. We expect these pressures to continue and there are early signs of increased flu prevalence.

‘The NHS needs to take further action to increase capacity and minimise disruptive last minute cancellations. That is why we are making these further recommendations.’

|

Ads by Google