Royal Liverpool Hospital issues 'full capacity' warning as ambulances held outside
The Royal Liverpool Hospital has issued a 'full capacity' alert to staff, with ambulances being held outside and doctors urged to see if they can free up beds.
An email sent out by the Royal's medical director Oliver Zuzan warned of "no space" in resuscitation areas and ambulances being held up outside the city centre hospital.
The full alert states: "The Royal site position currently is as follows: Holding ambulances; patients in ET; lack of assessment areas; amount of patients in ED; no resus space; 39 medical refs & 4 surg in ED; lack of identified discharges.
"We have therefore agreed to activate the full capacity protocol with immediate effect, in line with the protocol. We need to ensure that we are focused on achieving discharges in every department.
"If not already completed, every patient, in every bed, on every ward should be urgently reviewed by a senior doctor within the relevant sub-specialty.
"Activities should include the consideration of early discharge of patients who do not need a hospital bed but who need further investigations or assessments that could be undertaken via an alternative mechanism, including outpatient review."
The Trust has insisted that full capacity alerts like this are not uncommon for hospitals and that many sites are under pressure at present.
The alert comes with the Trust just days away from the start of the transfer of services, staff and patients from the current, dilapidated Royal site to the heavily delayed new hospital building.
Frontline staff members who spoke to the HSJ said there is concern that the new hospital has fewer beds than the current site.
The existing hospital has 685 beds, while the new facility has 640 - with a focus on private rooms.
A spokesperson for Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "The full capacity protocol is activated due to a high number of patient attendances in our Emergency Department.
"This protocol is used nationally and is designed to support patient flow for emergency and urgent care teams caring for patients awaiting treatment.
"People with serious medical emergencies will always be prioritised for treatment and we would ask people with less urgent concerns to contact NHS 111 for advice on alternative services."
A spokesperson for NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said: "It is no secret that urgent and emergency services up and down the country are under significant pressure.
"While innovations such as virtual wards and home oximetry (oxygen monitoring) are supporting more people to be safely treated at home, managing the ongoing challenge around hospital discharge is key to enabling us to respond to the current pressures.
"We are working closely with partners across health and social care – including those in local Government – to help address these challenges and ensure a truly system-wide response."