In line with the decision taken collectively by organisations across Surrey Heartlands, we have declared a Critical Incident at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust today [Wednesday 21 December 2022] due to extreme pressures on our services.
Like many other NHS organisations across the country, we continue to see a huge rise in demand for our services with a high number of patients seeking help from our Emergency Department.
This comes at a time when we are facing ongoing challenges in discharging patients who are well enough to leave hospital and an increase in staff sickness – all of which leads to patients waiting longer than we would like to be seen and admitted.
By declaring a critical incident we are able to work with our local health and care partners to take additional steps to ensure we can maintain safe services for patients and help our teams manage these pressures.
Unfortunately, this does mean rearranging some non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments to accommodate those patients with the most urgent clinical need. Cancer and our other most urgent operations and appointments will continue to be prioritised and those patients whose appointments are being rearranged will be contacted directly by our teams. If you are not contacted directly, please do still continue to attend your appointment. If you are no longer able to make your appointment, please contact the telephone number on your appointment letter so that it can be offered to another patient.
Dr David Fluck, Medical Director, said:
“We appreciate that this may be disappointing for those patients whose appointments and procedures need to be rearranged, however, patient safety must take priority and we need to take action to make sure that those who are more clinically urgent get the help they need as quickly as possible.
“Our teams continue to work exceptionally hard; and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that despite the challenges faced and some changes to non-urgent appointments, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them so if you require urgent medical help, please continue to come forward.
“The public can help us manage these periods of demand by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services, and only attending A&E for serious accidents and emergencies. If you are unwell, see NHS 111 online for 24/7 advice about the most appropriate care for your needs or call NHS 111, although phone lines remain very busy.”