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NHS under ‘massive pressure’

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By Fiona Reid
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NHS under 'massive pressure'

UNPRECEDENTED pressures are being faced by the region’s health and social care system.

And NHS bosses say it’s worse now than at the peak of the covid pandemic.

Julie White is chief officer of Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership, and she said: “We are having to make day by day decisions on our capacity to deliver planned surgery. This is distressing for patients who receive late notice cancellation but reflects the prioritisation of those with the most immediate and pressing need.

“At this very challenging time, our priority has to be to minimise the risk of harm to individuals.”

Explaining the reasons behind the problems, Ms White cited a ‘combination of factors’, including very high rates of flu and other respiratory illness currently circulating within communities, which is resulting in high numbers of vulnerable people requiring immediate medical care.

She added: “Well over 100 people are in hospital beds whose needs could be better met at home or in a homely setting, important operations are being cancelled and our Emergency Departments are under significant strain. Our GP practices, mental health teams and community-based health and social care teams are also experiencing unprecedented demands.

“Currently, a very significant proportion of hospital staff are supporting patients who no longer have a need for further medical treatment or rehabilitation.

“It is essential that we do everything we can to return these individuals home or to a homely setting in order that we are able to provide the support to those most unwell patients – where immediate help can potentially be life-saving.

“To be clear, the primary consideration here is not facilities or equipment, but having the necessary volumes of staffing who have the skill and capacity to provide treatment and care to those in most urgent need.

“At this time, difficult decisions will need to be taken to ensure our staff can help meet the most urgent need and to ensure that our hospital has the capacity to deal with the next emergency attendance.”

She pledged to give further public updates but warned they expect the pressures to “persist in line with the traditional flu season” and there is unlikely to be significant improvement for weeks to come.

 

 

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