West London Hospitals under greatest pressure they have been “in the last 20 years”

Image above: Hounslow Urgent Care Centre

BMA says up to 500 people each week could die due to delays in UK health service

Hospitals and urgent care centres in west and south west London are under the greatest pressure they have been in the last 20 years, according to Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which oversees west London hospitals.

The Trust, which covers Charing Cross Hospital, Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, Hammersmith Hospital, St Mary’s Hospital and Western Eye Hospital, said while hospitals have learned a “huge amount” on how to respond to growing demand, many patients are still waiting too long to receive emergency care.

MP for Brentford and Isleworth Ruth Cadbury told The Chiswick Calendar her constituents were also facing long delays at the urgent care centre in Hounslow, run by Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare Trust, including long waits for those taking young children for care.

The comments came in the wake of the British Medical Association stating that the pressure on the NHS is “intolerable and unsustainable” and that the deaths of up to 500 people each week could be caused by delays in emergency care.

Image above: Hammersmith Hospital

“Longstanding issues” hampering hospital capacity for urgent care

A NHS spokesperson for Imperial College Healthcare trust said:

“Our hospitals are the most pressured they’ve been in the past 20 years, with A&E attendances this winter 16 per cent higher than pre-pandemic.

“We have learnt a huge amount over the years about responding to growing demand, especially during the winter, and we have changed and improved the way we work.

“This includes expanding our Same Day Emergency Care, increasing our use of virtual wards and making the very best use of our existing hospital capacity. This is all helping – for example, enabling us to have some of the fastest ambulance handover times in London – but many of our patients are still waiting too long.

“Many of the immediate challenges we’re facing are driven by high rates of Covid-19, flu and other respiratory viruses, as well as capacity issues in the rest of the system – especially in social care which is making it hard to discharge patients who are clinically fit to leave but who need on-going care.

“On top of this, there are longstanding issues such as hospital infrastructure not keeping pace with changing needs and having enough staff, with the right skills.

“We must tackle these long-standing problems as a sector. But for now, we are focusing on meeting the immediate challenges, making sure patients get the care they need as quickly and safely as possible and avoid unnecessary time in hospital. Everyone can help with this by making full use of available services, including pharmacies, GP services and NHS 111.”

Image above: Ruth Cadbury outside West Middlesex University Hospital

Government inaction fuelling NHS crisis, says Ruth Cadbury

Ruth Cadbury, the Labour MP for Brentford and Isleworth, told The Chiswick Calendar:

‘‘A decade of misrule by successive Governments has had a huge impact on our NHS locally. Patients in need are having to wait too long for ambulances, people locally are waiting months and years for vital treatment and too many are unable to see a GP when they need one.

“I’ve also heard locally about long waits and delays at the urgent care centre ran by the Hounslow and Richmond Health NHS trust. I was especially concerned to hear about the long waits for those taking young children for care.

“I know that NHS staff are working tirelessly to treat patients and keep people safe. Yet they are being let down by a Government that has failed to support our NHS over the past decade, and failed to recruit or retain staff or invest in extra capacity for treatments.

“It’s shocking that over the recent weeks the Government are trying to shift the blame away from their own dismal record of failure on the NHS.

“People locally deserve a Government that cares and that is acting to tackle this crisis.’’

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