NHS under pressure: COVID impacts on ‘challenging month for Fife hospitals
Hospitals in Fife are under strain as they deals with more COVID cases - and more people needing to be admitted.
It comes at a time when general medical and surgical admissions are up, and the A&E department at the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy is dealing with more patients than it would at the height of winter.
Now, the region’s health boss has renewed the trust’s appeal to people to use services appropriately.
Carol Potter, chief executive of NHS Fife gave the overview at a board meeting held today.
She described July as “a challenging month.”She said: “Despite everyone’s best efforts, we have continued to see increasing COVID case numbers and COVID admissions, along with an increase in demand for our front-line services.”
However, she did report that there is now evidence of the COVID case rate beginning to reduce across most areas in Fife.
Ms Potter said: “This is in part testament to all those Fifers who have come forward for both of their COVID vaccinations, who are participating in regular testing and self-isolating if they test positive or a close contact of someone who has, as well as their continued commitment in adhering to maintaining safe physical distance, the wearing of face coverings and good hand hygiene.”
But the pressures still remain across services.
She explained: “The emergency department at the Victoria Hospital is currently seeing more patients through its doors each day than it did prior to the COVID pandemic, with numbers exceeding even the traditionally busy winter period - 35% higher than January of this year – and regularly above 200 attendances per day.”She added: “Combined with both general medical and surgical admissions - around 5% higher than pre-COVID levels - and our commitment to remobilising and maintaining our scheduled care services, this means our local health and care services are under increasing strain, with little or no areas left untouched.”
She paid tribute to the commitment of her staff who have “felt the effect of the increased pressures on our services on a daily basis.”She added: “Their professionalism, resilience, and drive to do the right thing and deliver the best possible care to the most vulnerable is inspiring and at times humbling, as they continue to dig-deep to deliver health care services across all our communities in Fife.”
Ms Potter also thanked patients, their families and carers for their “ongoing understanding and support.” adding: “We recognise the impact of the pandemic on our scheduled care services and I know this has affected many individuals who are having to wait longer than we would have wanted.”
Her appeal to Fifers to use services appropriately came after NHS Fife revealed the pressure facing A&E as it tried to maintain social distancing, and deal with people turning up who could have otherwise attended a minor injuries clinic or spoken to a pharmacy, GP or called NHS24.
“These inappropriate presentations add to the pressure within the busy emergency department and lead to longer waiting times,” she said.
“Our staff are working exceptionally hard during challenging circumstances and I would urge people to be mindful of this by showing not only patience – but also kindness and courtesy.”