York and Scarborough NHS bosses take 'extraordinary action' as hospitals face extreme pressure
Bosses at hospitals in North Yorkshire say they are having to take "extraordinary action" because of the severe pressure on emergency departments.
York and Scarborough NHS Trust said "sustained pressure for several weeks" had escalated over Christmas.
Tuesday, 3 January, was "one of the busiest our two acute hospitals have ever seen", the trust said.
In a statement, the trust said staff were being redirected to look after the sickest patients in acute departments, meaning outpatient appointments could be delayed.
It added: "We are fully aware that taking such action may be disruptive to patients attending hospital for planned care or outpatient appointments and we haven’t made this decision lightly.
"However, the situation in terms of the pressure on our two emergency departments requires extraordinary action."
The trust said the high number of patients in emergency departments awaiting admission and a rise in the number of people in beds waiting to be discharged were contributing to the problems.
It comes as there are nationwide warnings about patients facing long waits for treatment, ambulance delays, and thousands of beds taken up by people who are ready to be discharged.
More than a dozen NHS trusts and ambulance services across the UK declared critical incidents over the festive period.
On Tuesday United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) declared a critical incident for the third time in a month because of "exceptionally high levels of demand" on its emergency and urgent care services.
The Health Secretary has blamed high numbers of COVID-19 and Strep A cases for the pressures the NHS has faced over Christmas and the New Year.
Steve Barclay said: "There's £500 million of investment this year going into tackling the pressure in terms of social care. So we're putting more funding in. We've got more clinicians, we've got more staff working in the NHS."
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen has hit back at Mr Barclay's comments.
The RCN boss said: "The Government cannot blame the pandemic and other winter pressures for the crisis unfolding before our eyes - this has been a long time in the making yet the Government has consistently ignored warnings."
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