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Critical incident declared in Nottinghamshire healthcare system with some operations postponed

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A critical incident has been declared for healthcare systems in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire due to unprecedented pressure on services.

The Integrated Care Board announced this afternoon (July 27) there are significant levels of covid-19 in hospitals across the city and county, alongside high numbers of patients arriving with other conditions.

It means some non-urgent operations have been postponed and there are longer waiting times for beds.

Ambulances outside Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. (58275182)
Ambulances outside Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. (58275182)

The Integrated Care Board, which recently replaced Clinical Commissioning Groups, which deliver local healthcare services, said the incident is an indication of the “serious pressure the system is facing”.

A critical incident is declared when a service loses its ability to deliver critical healthcare.

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, which runs the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, said its emergency department was extremely busy and encouraged people to call 111 for non-urgent care.

The board said in a statement that it regreted taking the step to postpone operations but added that it was important that they focus on patients needing urgent and emergency care as a priority.

They said: “There are extended waiting times to access beds within our hospitals. This, paired with difficulties in discharging patients due to a lack of capacity across our care sector as well as staff absence due to covid-19 is causing a significant strain on the system.

“As a result, the healthcare system is taking additional steps to prioritise and maintain safe services for patients. Our aim is to prioritise patients with the highest level of need and ensure that we continue to be able to manage emergency care.

“This means that some non-urgent operations, where patients require a stay in hospital, will be postponed to prioritise patients with the most urgent clinical need.”

The Integrated Care Board asked that people only call 999 or attend A&E departments for serious accidents and for genuine emergencies.

Otherwise, they ask that people visit NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 for advice on how to get the care needed.

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