NHS trust declares critical incident amid 'extreme pressures'

An NHS trust has declared a critical incident after experiencing extreme pressure on services amid a high demand at two hospitals in Staffordshire.

University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust announced the move on Thursday saying Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford had been under extreme pressure since the Easter holiday period.

A critical incident was also declared at both hospitals in January.

As was the case then, the trust said pressure was greatest in the emergency departments as patients were unable to be admitted to beds promptly.

Outlining measures afforded by critical incident status, Ann-Marie Riley, chief nurse at the trust, said: "We will always do our best for patients and keep patients safe and locally we are working with our NHS and local authority partners to put in place measures to ensure that people who need hospital and emergency care can get treatment quickly and to identify and utilise any additional capacity to allow us to discharge patients that do not require hospital care.

"During this time the emergency departments will continue to see the sickest patients first, which means for some patients there may be much longer delays for their treatment."

She added the trust was continuing to ask the public to only use A&E in serious or life-threatening cases.

"I would like to thank our staff for their on-going efforts during this extremely challenging period and the public for their understanding and co-operation," she said.

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