Staff at a London hospital were being urged to discharge patients as quickly as possible within days of the closure of two neighbouring A&E units, a leaked memo has revealed.
The internal document highlights the pressure on beds at Ealing hospital after the closure of the casualty wards at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith hospitals last month.
Managers at the hospital — which is itself due to lose its A&E — warned on September 16, six days after the changes, that all of its “escalation beds” were full and patients were being treated in overflow areas.
The Ealing memo stated: “We need your assistance in making sure we can discharge patients early on Wednesday so patients can be moved to wards and elective work can continue. Please can all teams ensure all patients identified for discharge are able to be discharged at the earliest opportunity.”
Labour London Assembly Member Dr Onkar Sahota, who obtained the memo, said: “Despite numerous warnings that closing Hammersmith and Central Middlesex A&E units would have a devastating effect the Government refused to listen.
“Now Ealing hospital is at crisis point and patients are paying the price with patients being hurried out the door, beds completely full and waiting times spiralling.”
Last week Ealing admitted onto wards 336 of the 760 patients who sought help at its main A&E department. A further 1,390 patients were treated at its urgent care centre. A total of 93.9 of all patients were seen within four hours — below the 95 per cent government target.
A spokesman from Ealing Hospital NHS Trust said: “Variations in demand for A&E services are common. Currently capacity is as expected and we are coping.”
Campaigners fear the long-term future of Ealing hospital is in jeopardy after borough GPs voted to start the process of closing its maternity department.
Published: 13 October 2014
Updated: 10:52, 13 October 2014