KGH staff told 'actions needed now' as patient numbers rise

Staff have been told to avoid admissions wherever safe to do so

By Phoebe Radford
Friday, 13th November 2020, 4:38 pm
Updated Friday, 13th November 2020, 4:40 pm
KGH staff have been told action is needed as capacity is under pressure
KGH staff have been told action is needed as capacity is under pressure

Staff at KGH have been told action is needed to maintain patient care as the hospital faces mounting pressures, the Northamptonshire Telegraph has learnt.

Managers at KGH were told in an email from Jo Fawcus, chief operating officer, that the hospital's operational pressure escalation level (OPEL) has been increased to the highest level of four as patient numbers are rising and putting pressure on KGH.

In the email sent today (Friday, November 13), Jo Fawcus said: "We are currently dealing with a rising number of patients across the hospital, partly as a result of winter pressures and rising cases of Covid-19.

"The impact this is having on our capacity is affecting our ability to care for patients in the most effective way and we have escalated to OPEL four."

According to the OPEL definitions, four is declared when there is no capacity across the acute trust, there are severe ambulance delays and ambulances are unable to offload within 120 minutes, there are unexpected reduced staffing numbers, and there are severe capacity pressures on intensive care and specialist beds.

Speaking at today's Northamptonshire coronavirus press conference, Eileen Doyle, chief executive of KGH, said out of around 10,000 staff at NGH and KGH, 286 are currently off work either because they have Covid-19, have symptoms, or were told to self-isolate through close contact with a case.

Ms Doyle also said: "There are 116 patients with Covid, which is around 10 per cent of our bed base."

On November 5, there were 34 inpatients with coronavirus at KGH, according to an internal memo.

As of 8am this morning KGH had 54 Covid patients, with three in in ITU.

The chief executive said that while both KGH and NGH are very busy at the moment, care was continuing as normal as lessons had been learnt.

She said: "Both hospitals are busy, but it's a busy time of year and we're ordinarily busy over winter.

"We have learnt a lot and this is our second time around, although we never really stopped.

"Services are continuing. Cancer care, emergency care, and planned care is still continuing and that's different from the first time around.

"Therefore, we do ask if you have an appointment, please keep it. It's very important that we are able to treat as many people for as long as possible."

However, today's email to KGH staff makes it clear the hospital is under capacity pressures.

The email to KGH staff continued: "To ensure we have beds for our sickest patients, we need clinical staff to focus today and over the weekend on admission avoidance and discharged wherever it is safe to do so."

Staff have been told to consider using the same-day emergency care teams to avoid admission and they are being urged to discharge any patients who are safe to go home today and over the weekend.

Ms Fawcus also asked for additional help and said: "If any of our staff are able to support this effort over the weekend with extra shifts/overtime, please can you contact your line managers.

"We absolutely recognise this is a busy time for everyone and I want to thank you for your continuing hard work and commitment to caring for our patients. You are all going above and beyond for our patients and I do recognise how tough it has been throughout this pandemic."

Ms Fawcus reminded staff that the #WeCare Cafe and Open Office are available for staff to rest and talk.