A&E department struggling as three Covid-19 wards open in Rotherham Hospital

The first covid ward opened three weeks ago, and filled up and so another ward was opened, with a third opened yesterday (October 20).

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:45 pm

George Briggs, Chief Operating Officer for The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said that the hospital currently has more than 60 Covid patients over the wards, and warns "at that rate we will be overwhelmed."

"We have seen a marked increase in Covid patients. I had Friday and Monay off on annual leave last week, going out with 33 or 34 patients with covid," he added.

"Four days later we're up at 60 plus. That's a 100 percent increase in three to four days- at that rate, we will be overwhelmed.

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Rotherham Hospital

"We put in place a plan three weeks ago to open the Covid ward, which we did. It was one of our wards we were going to open for winter, and we've opened it early to Covid patients.

"Once that became full, we escalated into the ward next door and moved patients from that ward to other areas.

"We spent two days trying to discharge people and move patients around to make sure we've got beds on the Covid ward.

"We opened that ward a week ago, and then last night we opened a third covid ward. Each time we get a high demand for Covid patients, we will open another facility and move patients that are negative.

"Our A&E department is under real pressure and has been for a couple of weeks now. Yesterday, for instance, there was 17 people waiting for a bed in the department in the evening, with 80 plus people in the department trying to get various treatments.

"We've got a GP on the front door, who is asking people to use 111 or try and get alternative treatment if possible. And that's working to an extent.

"But it's a difficult time for everybody, it's a pandemic and the team in our area are doing their absolute utmost to ensure that we get care to people at the right time in the right place.

George added that 12 members of staff from Rotherham hospital were voluntarily inducted to the Nightingale hospital in Harrogate during the last wave, and the hospital has requested 10-12 staff from Rotherham this time around.

"[If] the numbers continue to increase as they have done last week or so, we will consider moving patients to the hospital once it's opened in Harrogate," he added.

"If a patient is really unstable we will not transfer them as it is likely they will die in transfer. We're hoping that people will not die while they're over in Harrogate. The plan is to move stable people only.

"We have ample supplies of PPE across all areas, everything we need we've got plenty of."

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