STAFF at Southampton's biggest hospital have spoken out about the overwhelming pressure they are facing due to a huge influx of patients.

Shorter breaks, hectic shifts and patients taking frustrations out on staff are just some of the things that teams across University Hospital Southampton (UHS) are facing.

It comes after the Trust announced yesterday that some patients were facing a wait of more than 12-hours at the A&E department.

The emergency department is currently facing "severe pressure", the trust has said.

Although prioritising urgent cases, UHS has asked patients to consider the Urgent Treatment Centre at Royal South Hants Hospital, which has current waiting times of 90 minutes.

A message sent to all UHS staff yesterday, which has been seen by the Daily Echo, said that there were "significant numbers" of patients queued on trollies and ambulances were "forced to wait" to handover patients.

One member of staff, who works in the A&E department, has spoken out about their current work experience.

They said that bed shortages, patient frustrations and staff sickness are all putting "immense" pressure on the team.

They praised their team for "always coming together to provide the best care" despite the pressure they face.

The staff member, who did not want to be named, said that some shifts have led them to tears and the long hours are affecting their social life.

"With the insane amount of people constantly coming in, it adds so much additional stress to the workload," they said.

"As staff, we try to keep a positive moral but sometimes this becomes difficult when everyone is under so much pressure.

"The extra workload results in shortened breaks or evening going without a break or taking one very late.

"It can't be helped due to staff shortages and this immense workload.

"There have been a few times I have come home from a 12-hour shift with a limited break and just felt very overwhelmed.

"One shift not long ago left me so drained and overwhelmed that I came home and cried.

"Patients become more agitated and upset with the care they are receiving as they have to wait so long due to pressure and bed shortages.

"They take this frustration out on us. Sometimes it makes you feel like you're not doing a good enough job which affects your mental health.

"I absolutely adore my job, it is very rewarding being able to help people and potentially save lives but this just adds so much more pressure.

"Luckily the team I have are incredible and take each day as it comes and work through it."

The Trust is asking the public to help by only coming to ED in emergency or life-threatening situations, do what you can to help a loved one who is medically fit to leave hospital, take care of yourselves in the hot weather, and do not visit the hospital if you have covid symptoms unless you are extremely unwell and need medical attention.

Trevor Smith, deputy chief medical officer at University Hospital Southampton said: “We are facing significant pressure at our emergency department (ED) with a record number of patients coming to us for medical attention.

“Yesterday, our ED saw more than 450 patients and this pressure is not yet reducing meaning that some patients are waiting for 12 hours, although we continue to prioritise emergency care for those who need it most.

“To help alleviate the pressure we have utilised medical support from across the wider hospital so that we can diagnose, admit (where necessary) and discharge patients more quickly.

"The hospital remains under immense strain due to a combination of factors, including Covid-19 infection rates within the wider community, staff sickness, the current heatwave as well as a significant number of patients medically fit to be discharged who remain in our care.

“Our staff are working incredibly hard through this peak and we thank them for their unwavering dedication and resilience to help us deliver care to those who need it most during this difficult time.”

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