'Major internal incident' declared at busy St Helier hospital
A major internal incident was declared at St Helier hospital because it was so busy last week.
Hospital bosses had to act urgently because of an unusually high number of acutely ill patients needing treatment on Friday, March 9.
The news has left campaigners furious as two hospitals in the region face losing their accident and emergency and maternity departments under the Better Services Better Value healthcare review.
Despite the incident all of St Helier’s services remained open including the accident and emergency and steps were taken to ensure their weekend services remained at the high standard they would expect.
The major incident stopped at about 5.30pm on Friday but, even then, the hospital remained significantly busier than normal.
They had to agree a number of special measures to ensure that services ran safely throughout the weekend.
This included staff working additional hours, increased numbers of consultants on all wards, extending diagnosis facilities and opening hours of their pharmacy.
Paul Burstow the MP for Sutton and Cheam said: “All of the A&E departments in SW London were super busy last Friday – it exposes just how thread bear BSBVs case for closing two A&E departments is.
“There is no plan to improve out of hospital care to take the strain and I am worried about the risk to patient safety if closure plans go ahead.”
Mary Burstow, chairman of Sutton Council's health and well being scrutiny committee, said: “It just goes to prove how important the hospital and the view that we really need it.
“How will St George’s, Kingston and Croydon cope if we didn’t have Epsom and St Helier to take the additional strain.
“Also it wasn’t just St Helier suffering. All the hospitals in the region were.”
A spokesperson for the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Thanks to the response from our staff and partner organisations, no vital services were adversely impacted throughout the incident.”