Hospital short of beds and 'cannot meet demand'

a building that has a sign on the side of a road: The hospital was experiencing a high number of admissions and some delayed discharges, States of Guernsey said © BBC The hospital was experiencing a high number of admissions and some delayed discharges, States of Guernsey said

Guernsey's only hospital is struggling with a shortage of beds after an influx of emergency patients, bosses said.

Princess Elizabeth Hospital's critical care unit is at capacity and "cannot meet demand", States of Guernsey has said.

Some planned procedures have also had to be postponed, although most have gone ahead until recently, it said.

Another key problem was delayed patient discharges, due to a lack of ready care packages, the government said.

The lack of beds was caused by patients requiring urgent treatment for trauma, mental health problems, pneumonia, heart problems and stroke, States of Guernsey said.

There were also admissions as a result of falls at home, urinary tract infections and frailty, it said.

In a press release, States of Guernsey said Health and Social Care was calling on the community to "help keep all but essential cases out of hospital".

It said the hospital had been running at 87% occupancy, with 116 beds rather than the normal 110, which was described as an improvement on recent weeks.

Elaine Burgess, head of acute nursing care, said: "There is the perception that the hospital is quiet post-lockdown, but it is busier than ever. Every minute in a hospital bed matters."

'Clinical risk set to worsen'

The government said Health and Social Care acknowledged that some lengthy hospital stays were unavoidable, but also recognised that many inpatients could be discharged back home or moved into appropriate care a lot sooner.

Jan Coleman, director of hospital modernisation, said: "The current capacity issues demonstrate that the hospital can't meet today's demand, let alone be fit for the future with an ageing population."

She said the planned hospital modernisation programme would address "a number of areas of clinical risk, which are set to worsen if left unresolved".

Building a new critical care unit has been prioritised in the first phase of the hospital modernisation and construction is due to start this October, Ms Coleman added.

Hospital short of beds and 'cannot meet demand'