Warning as staff at Scarborough and York hospitals face ‘exceptionally demanding time’
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Hospital bosses have said that a mixture of winter pressures and industrial action have placed staff under “astonishing pressure” in December and January.
They have also said that the safety of services received by patients over the winter months is at risk.
Board members of the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust met on Wednesday (Jan 31) and were told that some changes had been implemented and ambulance handover times had been reduced.
Simon Morritt, chief executive, said: “The challenges that we face in January have been astonishingly busy.
So, a big thank you on behalf of myself and all of the board to our staff for managing the pressure within the organisation.”
Mr Morritt added that careful planning and “colleagues stepping up to do all they can” had helped to mitigate “the longest period of industrial action in NHS history”.
In December, three days of strike action by BMA Junior Doctors with “Christmas Day” levels of staffing led to dozens of elective procedures being cancelled across the trust.
The meeting was told that the trust did not deliver 71 elective procedures and 458 outpatient first attendances or procedures in that period which would otherwise have taken place.
In the year to date, industrial action has resulted in the trust not delivering 1,421 elective procedures and 4,522 outpatient first attendances or procedures.
It was also reported that improvements had been made in the number of patients waiting over 62 days on a cancer pathway, at 314 against the trajectory of 361 for the end of December last year.
However, further concerns were raised in a report presented by the organisation’s chief operating officer, Claire Hansen, which stated that the safety of services received by patients over the winter months is at risk.
The report stated that hospitals within the health trust “may be unable to maintain a consistent rate of flow through urgent and emergency care pathways over the winter months therefore potentially impacting the quality and safety of services received by patients and their carers and impacting the experience of our staff”.
While an action plan has been put in place, hospital bosses said they wanted updates on the management of the risk at least until the end of March.
At the meeting, hospital bosses also discussed the “high number of beds occupied by patients who no longer need hospital-based care with the consequent impact of overcrowding in emergency departments and wards and 12-hour trolley waits”.
Chair of the trust, Martin Barkley, said: “20-25% of beds are occupied by people who don’t need to be here.”