Hospitals under pressure

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SHEFFIELD’S adult hospitals are facing unprecedented pressure because of a large rise in emergency admissions and a prolonged outbreak of the norovirus superbug.

Managers have acted by opening a 34-bed ‘surge ward’ at the Northern General Hospital to cope with the demand.

But an average of one scheduled operation a day has been cancelled on the day over the past three weeks at the Northern General and the Royal Hallamshire because of a lack of critical care or post-operative beds.

There are currently 33 beds out of use at the Northern General and six at the Royal Hallamshire because of norovirus, a slight improvement on last weekend.

Prof Mike Richmond, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We have experienced the highest number of emergency attendances and admissions over the last few weeks than ever before. Many of these patients have needed emergency surgery and a critical care bed for their recovery.

“This has meant we have not been able to carry out the usual number of planned operations, because we have simply not been able to guarantee we would have the beds available, because emergency patients have had to take priority.”