Patients in South Cumbria are being asked to stay away from accident and emergency departments today as the NHS trust is struggling to cope.
Bosses at the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust are warning that the A&E departments at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Furness General Hospital are facing "exceptional pressure" at the moment.
A hospital spokesman said that as of 9.30am this morning, there were already nearly 30 patients waiting in the emergency department at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, with some patients having to wait five and a half hour to be assessed.
Adding that at Furness General Hospital, there were 11 patients waiting in the emergency department, with some patients having to wait between two and three hours to be assessed.
“Once again we find ourselves experiencing increased pressure in both our A&E departments.
“Unfortunately, due to the pressure we are facing this weekend, we are keeping patients in our A&E departments longer than we would like to. This is mostly due to patients waiting to be admitted to our wards, and as a consequence we are having to keep many patients in A&E.
“Therefore, we are calling on the public to help us by only coming to our A&Es if they really have to. This will help our staff to be free to treat those most in need, such as those who have a serious or life-threatening illness or injury.
“If you do attend one of our A&Es, please be patient with staff who are doing their best in difficult circumstances. At the moment, patients are likely to experience long waiting times, whilst our staff see and treat those who need urgent medical attention.
“Whilst we will see and treat all patients who attend, there are those who could be better treated elsewhere. We know it can be difficult when someone is unwell so if you aren’t sure whether or not to attend the A&E, please ring the NHS advice line on 111 who are trained to help. If you have a minor illness or injury that needs attention, you can visit your nearest pharmacist, Primary Care Assessment Centre, or speak to your GP."
The Care Quality Commission says Morecambe Bay Hospitals have made enough progress to come out of special measures.
The trust runs the Westmorland General in Kendal.
Morecambe Bay was placed in special measures in June 2014 because of concerns about patient safety.
Despite the improvement the the trust is still rated as "requires improvement."
It means private companies will run the Morecambe Bay Trust's hospital pharmacy services, including those at Westmorland General Hospital.Read the full story ›
The Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust holds its annual general meeting in Kendal on Thursday.
The Care Quality Commission placed the trust in "special measures" last year after concerns about its performance.
The AGM will take place at the Castle Green Hotel, at 2pm.
It's a chance for the public to hear about the past year, and question the trust's board members about the future.
Two reviews into the trust's performance have been published in the last year:
I am really looking forward to this Annual Members' Meeting as it will be the first since I joined the Trust as Chair.
Events like this are always one of the real highlights on the calendar for me as it gives us the perfect opportunity to talk directly to the public about what has been going on at the Trust, what achievements we've made, what challenges we've faced, and also what we are planning for the future.
It also enables the public to ask the Trust Board and the Council of Governors any questions they may have about their local hospitals.
I hope that as many people as possible will take the time to come along to the meeting and get involved."
A woman whose breast cancer was missed by the North Lancashire and South Cumbria breast screening programme is calling for an historic review of cases.
'Lisa' was given the all clear in 2005 after a routine mammogram. Six months later it emerged her cancer had been missed. She was 37 years old.
Lisa said she was devastated: "My confidence was just destroyed, I just thought how can that happen?
"I put all my trust in people to look after me and then they report I'm fine and less than six months later I'm not fine."
ITV news obtained figures earlier this year showing at least 14 other cases were missed between 2005 and 2011.
We reiterate the apologies we gave in 2007 to the lady concerned when her mammogram was incorrectly interpreted – as we appreciate this would have caused her additional worry at an already distressing time.
We would reassure Lisa and the public that a review of the Breast Screening Service by national experts from Public Health England in 2014 determined that the service is safe and there are no concerns about film reading in the unit, which meets national standards with good overall cancer detection rates.
An investigation by ITV News has found the breast screening unit at Morecambe Bay Hospitals Trust missed 14 cancers between 2005-2011.Read the full story ›
Eleven babies and one mother died following failures in a maternity unit at a Cumbrian hospital, an inquiry has found.Read the full story ›
An investigation into the North Lancashire and South Cumbria Breast Screening Programme has highlighted "serious concerns" in relation to the management, working relations and audit culture.
The review concluded the service is safe but there must be a "significant review of processes" to ensure it stays that way.
The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust says it welcomes the report and will implement all of its findings. Katie Hunter has more:
Another of Cumbria's NHS Trusts has been told it's not up to scratch.
The Morecambe Bay Trust which runs the Westmorland General in Kendal is set to be placed into special measures.
A series of inspections found that the quality of care at their hospitals needed improvements, although the report said the Westmorland General itself was providing good overall care.
Kendal's hospital has come out the best but it runs fewer services than the Lancaster Infirmary and the Furness General.
That means many patients from this area are sent to Lancaster or Barrow. Fiona Marley Paterson been looking into what difference this will make to patient care.
The NHS trust which runs the Westmorland General in Kendal is to be placed into special measures.
It follows a series of inspections that found that the quality of care at two hospitals of the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust needed improvements, although the Westmorland General itself was providing a good service overall.
The county's two other main hospitals are already in special measures. Here's Fiona Marley Patterson.