Professor Orchard reported to Imperial NHS Trust's board this week on the pressures on A&Es and the knock-on effects for patients. The stats support the view that closing Charing Cross Hospital would be dangerous - taking too much capacity out.
There's a big increase in people attending A&E attendances at all Imperial NHS Hospitals compared to last year. It means longer waiting times even for some of the most seriously ill patients, 22.1% of whom waited >4 hours to be seen in A&E in August. The highest increase has been at CX - 14% more A&E attendees than same time last year. The trend seems to be accelerating. In August 16 there was a daily high of 70 ambulances at St Mary's and 52 at CX, in September 82 at St Mary's and 59 at CX. Part of the increase is because of higher numbers of patients from Harlesden using CX. Prof Orchard was clear that the problem was capacity and not inefficiency describing 11 days in one month at CX and 16 at St Mary's when Drs arriving in the morning faced patients in cubicles from the night before. In his view it's obvious that Out of Hospital schemes are not reducing demand for acute services and he has written to the commissioners about Vocare, the recently privatised Urgent Care Clinic at St Mary's tasked with reducing the most serious attendances at St Mary's A&E by 26,000 in 1 year. To date there is little evidence that this is realistic.
The pressure on A&Es are reflected in stresses on the wards and on waiting lists. Imperial's bed occupancy rate used to be around 93 - 94% it's now shot up to 97 - 99%.This matters because when rates rise above 85% it can start to affect quality of care and lead to bed crises and hospital acquired infections. 10,028 patients were waiting > 18 weeks for treatment, (compared to 4,890 in Feb 2016). Across Imperial's hospitals at the end of August 102 people have been waiting > 52 weeks.
Professor Orchard described staff working under extreme pressure and paid tribute to their resilience, professionalism and inventiveness. Imperial are trying to address the problems with charity funded A&E improvement work at St Mary's , a mobile theatre at CX, the establishment of a 40 bedded acute medical and surgical unit at CX and the use of private hospitals for delayed operations.
If further cuts and privatisation of local health services concerns or angers you there are 3 things you can do. this week
STP "Engagement" Event in Hammersmith
The local cuts plan (including the planned closures of CX and Ealing hospitals) has been rebranded as a Sustainability & Transformation Plan (STP). H&F Clinical Commissioning Group are running a "public engagement" event on the STP. Really important as many people as possible go and challenge the plans. (attached is latest SOH anti-STP leaflet).
STP "Engagement" Event Mon Oct 3rd 3 - 5pm
St Paul's Centre Queen Caroline St
SOH Saturday Stall Sat 1st Oct 2 - 4pm Lyric Square Hammersmith
Unwelcome the Tories to Birmingham Protest Sun 2nd October
Coach leaving Ealing Broadway at 9am- let us know if you'd like transport (£10/ £5 unwaged)
Regards AD (Save Our Hospitals secretary)