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Hospital trust declares second critical incident in fortnight

Health bosses have declared a critical incident at two Staffordshire hospitals for the second time in two weeks.

County Hospital in Stafford has seen a huge demand for beds

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

It follows on from a similar incident declared at the two hospitals on January 31 and follows a hike in demand in the last 24 hours.

UHNM medical director Dr Matthew Lewis said the critical incident had been declared to help the trust take additional measures to maintain safe services for patients.

He 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 start of the year, but 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.

“Locally, we are working with our NHS and local authority partners to ensure that people who need hospital and emergency care can get treatment quickly and to identify any additional support that allows us to discharge patients who do not require acute hospital care.

“As anticipated, the pressure is greatest in our emergency departments, which are facing continued challenges as patients cannot 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 than usual.

“We continue to ask the public to help us by only using A&E in a serious or life threatening emergency.

"When we’re discharging patients, we ask that their friends or loved ones pick them up from hospital as soon as possible and have everything they need at home.

“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.”