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Bosses declare 'critical incident' at two Staffordshire hospitals amid increased pressures

Health bosses have declared a "critical incident" at two Staffordshire hospitals after "severe" and "sustained" pressure seen since Christmas.

County Hospital in Stafford

University Hospitals of North Midlands (UHNM), which runs Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford, announced it had taken the measure on Tuesday amid an "extremely challenging period".

Health bosses at the Trust said there had been a hike in demand in the last 24 hours, with the greatest pressure being in the A&E departments where patients are unable to be admitted to beds "promptly".

Simon Evans, UHNM chief operating officer, said: "We are currently experiencing extremely high demand for all our services.

"Both Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital in Stafford have been under severe and sustained pressure since the holiday period however we have seen even greater demands in the last 24 hours.

"We have therefore taken the decision to declare a critical incident. This helps us to take additional measures to maintain safe services for our patients.

"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.

"As anticipated, the pressure is greatest in our emergency departments, who are facing ongoing challenges as patients are unable to be admitted to beds promptly.

"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.

"We continue to ask the public to help us by only using A&E in a serious or life threatening emergency and for their help when we're discharging their friends or loved ones to ensure they're picked up from hospital as soon as possible and have everything they need at home."

The Trust went on to praise staff for their "ongoing efforts" during the "extremely challenging period" and thanked the public for their understanding.

A critical incident was also declared at Dudley's Russells Hall Hospital earlier in the month, as an increase in demand resulted in a lack of beds for patients.