'Critical incident' declared at Great Western Hospital as ambulances face lengthy waits due to coronavirus pressure

Great Western Hospital, in Swindon.

Swindon’s Great Western Hospital (GWH) has declared a ‘critical incident’ as it struggles to treat a growing number of coronavirus patients.

Non-urgent operations have had to be cancelled as ambulance crews face queues outside the hospital, which currently has 159 patients with coronavirus.

The hospital had already temporarily converted one of its operating theatres into a makeshift intensive care unit following a 50 per cent rise in coronavirus patients in the past week. 

Swindon Borough Council has now issued an alert about the mounting pressure that is building on the hospital accident and emergency, and ambulance services. 

The council said: "The GWH is also battling to treat the existing 24/7 emergency health needs of our community including those suffering heart attacks, in need of cancer treatments or those that are involved in road traffic accidents.

"Ambulance crews are also under extreme pressures and are having to wait outside Accident and Emergency for long periods before being able to hand over patients.

"Last week the hospital had to cancel some non-urgent in-patent appointments. Today, some non-urgent surgeries will be cancelled to free up staff and theatres and patients who are well enough will also be discharged to free up ward capacity."

Some non-urgent appointments and surgeries have been cancelled to ensure that staff and patients remain available for treating its 159 COVID-19 patients.

The council urged the public to adhere to the government guidance to ‘stay at home and protect the NHS and save lives’ as the health service risks being overwhelmed in the coming weeks.  

If you are feeling unwell and are unsure who to contact, NHS services can be reached via 111 and an appropriate healthcare professional will be able to offer medical advice.

Read more: