Blackpool A&E under immense pressure with ‘no sign of respite’ as patients told to ‘think twice’

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Pressure on Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department is showing ‘no sign of respite’ according to its chief operating officer


Blackpool Victoria Hospital
Blackpool Victoria Hospital

Thousands of Lancashire residents have been told to ‘think twice’ before heading to Blackpool A&E, with ‘immense’ pressure on its services showing no signs of stopping soon.

That is the message from Natalie Hudson, Chief Operating Officer, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Approaching all staff on Wednesday (August 8), Ms Hudson said she hoped patients would “think twice” before heading to Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s emergency department.

In an email to all colleagues, Ms Hudson said there is “no sign of respite” when it came to pressure alleviating.

But she noted that there are “still a number of attendees who could have been treated elsewhere”; hinting that the triaging of patients was not as effective as it could be.

As a result, Ms Hudson is asking all staff to share Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust social media messages asking people to only head to A&E with ’emergency conditions’.

She is also asking staff to escalate delays as soon as they are recognised.

Of these, 80.7% were seen in under four hours.

This was down on July’s numbers, where 19,017 visited The Vic’s emergency department.

In June, 17,332 turned up to A&E in Blackpool.

The email to staff from Ms Hudson, which has been seen by LancsLive, reads: “As you may be aware, our Emergency Department has been under immense pressure recently and unfortunately, there is no sign of respite.

“The pressure is a culmination of many factors, but I would like to ask all colleagues around the Trust to help where you can to ensure the flow of patients around the hospital is as smooth and as safe as it can be.

“Although ED has treated many very poorly people, there are still a number of attendees who could have been treated elsewhere.

“You may have noticed we now have messages on the digital screen outside of ED that displays the average waiting time, number of ambulances arrivals in the last hour, the number of patients in the department and the longest time to be triaged.

“We hope that people will think twice about choosing to be seen in A&E when their symptoms are minor and instead contact NHS 111 first.

A recent tweet from Blackpool A&E on when you should and shouldn't go to its emergency department
A recent tweet from Blackpool A&E on when you should and shouldn’t go to its emergency department (Image: Twitter)

“In order to support our ED colleagues, can I please ask that you help by:

“Sharing any Trust social media messages to help ensure that attendees arrive at ED with emergency conditions only.

“Escalating any delays as soon as possible to your matron/manager of the day.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff for their hard work and dedication under particularly difficult circumstances.”

Speaking to LancsLive, Ms Hudson admitted the A&E has been “extremely busy in recent weeks.”.

But she praised staff who have been “working amazingly hard to provide the best care possible”.

“We realise that all health services are currently under pressure, but we would like to remind people with non-emergency conditions to look at the alternatives to A&E such as contacting NHS 111 for advice and to be directed to the most appropriate service,” she said.