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Update on winter pressures

Staff within Poole Hospital are working under a great deal of pressure this month, as there is considerable demands on our services, and unusually high numbers of very sick patients have been admitted to our wards – including a number of very serious cases of flu. As a consequence, we have to postpone a number of routine inpatient and outpatient appointments, originally scheduled for January. Urgent appointments remain unaffected.

We are extremely sorry that we have had to take this action, but given the circumstances, we have to prioritise emergency and urgent treatment over routine, planned care. This is entirely in line with national guidance issued earlier this week, by NHS England, aimed at supporting the provision of safe care.

Patients affected by this action will be contacted and offered new appointments as soon as possible. Unless you are contacted, please attend your appointment in the usual way.

We expect the situation to improve later in the month, as emergency pressures reduce back to normal levels.

Angus Wood, medical director at Poole Hospital, said: “We fully appreciate the distress and anxiety that a postponed operation or outpatient appointment can cause, and we apologise profusely to those affected. This is not a decision that we have taken lightly. However, by releasing staff from outpatients and postponing some of our routine work, clinicians are able to focus on our inpatient wards and our sickest patients - many of whom have very complicated health needs, requiring longer stays than usual in hospital.

“Maintaining safe, high quality care is always our priority, and it is right that we allocate our limited resources on caring for the most acutely unwell in hospital.

“It is important to stress that patients requiring urgent care, for example cancer appointments and operations, are unaffected.

“The public can support us at this time by ensuring they do not visit if they have (or have recently had) flu or other winter illness like norovirus, and by using our services appropriately.

“Many patients can be treated appropriately and often sooner by a GP or pharmacist, or at a walk-in centre or minor injuries unit. For those unsure where to access care, the NHS 111 service can provide a range of advice and support.”

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Longfleet Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 2JB. Tel: 01202 665511

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