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'Major Incident' stood down at North Cumbria hospitals

The Major Incident declared at North Cumbria's hospitals has been stood down, as pressures ease.

Hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven reached capacity on Wednesday morning, when all escalation beds were open.

“Patient care and safety has been our prime concern throughout this incident and we very grateful for everyone’s efforts over the past few days in resolving the immediate pressures facing hospital services.

“The pressures seen in recent weeks are a reflection of the scale and nature of much wider challenges across the entire health and social care system in North Cumbria and we continue to work collectively to ensure that any patients waiting unnecessarily in an acute hospital bed, are moved to the right care setting sooner rather than later.

“We would like to thank all staff for their effort and commitment during these particularly challenging times and also thank patients and the public for their co-operation.”

– Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

“Our focus now is on making sure that we learn from the events of the past week and also that partners continue to work effectively together so that all patients get the right care, at the right time and in the right place.”

– NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group spokesperson

Public can help Cumbria Hospital improvements

The Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle Credit: ITV Border

Members of the public are being asked to play their part to improve pressures on North Cumbria hospitals.

Efforts are being focused on reducing the need to maintain escalation beds, which have put a strain on normal routine business when hospitals are at capacity.

Health and social partners are working to make sure patients who do not need to be in an acute hospital bed, are safely discharged to a more appropriate care setting or home with the right package of care.

The public are being asked to help reduce pressures, and are being reminded:

  • to think twice before using A&E or calling 999 for serious life threatening emergencies
  • to think about using other NHS services such as walk-in centres and pharmacies or call Cumbria Health on Call (out of hours) on 03000 247247 for advice on alternative urgent services available
  • to stay away from hospital if they have any symptoms of sickness or diarrhoea.

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Cumbria's hospitals monitor 'major incident'

The Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle Credit: ITV Border News

Hospitals in North Cumbria are hoping to get back to normal after the NHS Trust declared a major incident yesterday with no spare beds at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary.

Some non-emergency operations at the Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven are expected to take place today.

FULL REPORT: Major incident declared at North Cumbrian hospitals

A major incident has been declared at the Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital after they ran out of beds to treat patients. Operations have had to be postponed today and health officials are working to resolve the problem.

It's happened because of the consistently high numbers of people being admitted to hospital in recent months and delays in discharging them. Tim Backshall reports:

NHS Trust issue statement on 'major incident'

All non-urgent elective operations have been cancelled today and tomorrow at both the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven.

The trust in charge of the two hospitals had to take action yesterday when it realised it had nowhere else for patients to go.

They are now being transferred around the county to try and resolve the crisis.

This joint statement has been issued by the NHS trust:

“Our prime concern is making sure we can continue to provide safe care for patients and this becomes increasingly difficult when our hospitals reach capacity. Given the continued and significant pressures our teams have faced over recent months, our hospitals are now struggling to admit any more patients until we can get patients flowing through the system and into appropriate community settings or home with the right package of care.”

– Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

"Frontline teams are extremely busy and we would urge people to think twice before using A&E services or calling 999 which should only be used for serious life threatening emergencies."

– Dr Hugh Reeve, Interim Chief Clinical Officer for NHS Cumbria CCG

“We have been working closely with all partners in the health and care system as part of the joined up response to this situation for a number of weeks. We have taken further actions today to create as much capacity as is safely possible including opening up a small number of additional beds in community hospitals. We would like to thank our staff who have been working create additional capacity and support in all our services? and would like to thank staff and patients who have been affected by changes in recent weeks.”

– Joanna Forster Adams, Director of Operations at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

“The Trust is working closely with healthcare partners to manage the issues at North Cumbria Acute Hospital Trusts.

“Patient care and safety is always our priority and we will continue to work with partners to ensure continued focus on safely transporting patients who need to go to hospital.”

– North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust spokesperson

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UPDATE: all non-urgent operations postponed; non-essential visitors asked to stay away

All non-urgent operations have been postponed, and all non-essential visitors should stay away Credit: ITV Border

The North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust has released an update regarding the norovirus outbreak at the Cumberland Infirmary.

All non-urgent operations have been postponed this week.

The trust has also issued a further appeal for all visitors to stay at home if they, or a member of their family, has had vomiting, diarrhoea, or 'flu-like' symptoms in the last two days.

All non-essential visitors are asked to stay away from the hospital, and visitors are limited to two per bed and next of kin only.

According to the Trust, the number of patients affected by the virus remains high and it is continuing to circulate widely in the community.

Cumberland Infirmary renews Norovirus appeal

Norovirus continues to affect the Infirmary. Credit: ITV Border

People in the region are again being asked not to visit the Cumberland Infirmary unless they have a medical emergency, thanks to a Norovirus outbreak.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust is restricting visitors to two per bed, and next of kin only. Children are asked to stay away, or for their parents to call beforehand.

In particular, the Trust's asking anyone with diarrhoea, vomiting or 'flu-like' symptoms, to stay away.

The number of patients in the hospital affected by Norovirus had initially reduced, but rose again today.

Visitors with flu-like symptoms reminded to stay way

North Cumbria University Hospital NHS Trust has thanked the public for helping to keep the outbreak of norovirus at the Cumberland Infirmary to a minimum.

"We would like to thank the community for taking on board our request only to visit patients if absolutely necessary."

– Gail Naylor, director of nursing and midwifery at theNorth Cumbria University Hospitals Trust

The number of patients showing symptoms of norovirus has gone down since last week, though a significant number are still affected.

The Trust is now asking people exhibiting flu-like symptoms to avoid visiting.

"If you have had vomiting or diarrhoea yourself, please stay away until you have been symptom-free for at least two days."

– Gail Naylor, director of nursing and midwifery at theNorth Cumbria University Hospitals Trust

It is also reminding people that those who feel they need to visit will have to follow strict hand-washing guidelines, and that no more than two visitors should visit each patient at any one time.

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