Hospitals on black alert

6:14pm Thursday 2nd December 2010

By Melanie Adams

SOUTHAMPTON hospitals are on high alert tonight as the snow and ice continued to cause chaos.

Injuries from slips and trips saw more and more people flood through the doors of Southampton General Hospital's emergency department, forcing health bosses to declare the highest level of alert - black alert.

Resources have been put under sever pressure across Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust services, gradually building throughout yesterday, despite a quiet morning.

The Trust has taken steps to deal with the demand on resources, including cancelling all inpatient non-emergency surgery scheduled for today.

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Paul Chamberlain, operations centre manager, said: "Pressure has built up across the Trust throughout yesterday and the hospital is experiencing a very busy period.

"As temperatures dropped last night, we prepared for services to be put under further strain with more attendance's at the emergency department from incidents on the icy roads and pavements and the knock-on effect that will cause.

"However, we are working with our partner organisations to plan staffing adequately and ensure we continue to operate as normal a service as possible."

The hospital is asking patients who are due to attend outpatient appointments but cannot travel to use the online cancellation form at www.suht.nhs.uk/cancel where possible.

If they are unable to do so, they should phone the number on their appointment letters to relieve pressure on the hospital switchboard.

In addition, relatives are being urged to collect family members if they are ready for discharge, as the Trust and ambulance service are unable to provide transportation.

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