Extent of winter crisis at Harrogate hospital revealed

tis  Harrogate District Hospital exterior.  101020M1a.
tis Harrogate District Hospital exterior. 101020M1a.
  • Harrogate hospital admits 153 extra patients in December compared to same period last year
  • All extra beds opened during busiest times to cope with increased demand
  • Hospital managed to avoid ‘major incident’ which took place at Scarborough hospital
  • Chief Operating Officer praised hard work of staff to cope with ‘considerable strain’

Harrogate District Hospital admitted more than 150 extra patients from their emergency department in December compared to the same period last year.

Figures released from the hospital showed a 18.7 per cent increase on hospital admissions from 2013, highlighting the extent of this year’s NHS winter crisis.

During the busiest times, we had all of our extra beds opens in the Hospital and the situation, although better than it was, has not eased completely, as we still have some of these additional beds open now.”

Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at Harrogate hospital

The hospital narrowly avoided reaching the major incidents seen elsewhere in the country after admitting 970 patients in December compared to 817 the year before and 821 in 2012.

Robert Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at the hospital, admitted that the figures showed there was a ‘considerable strain’ on services and praised the hard work of the community based teams.

He said: “In common with the whole NHS, this winter has been particularly challenging for us and this has been reflected not just at Harrogate District Hospital, but also in very high levels of demand for our community based services as well.

“Whilst our Emergency Department at the Hospital always tends to be particularly busy in the winter, this year we saw very large numbers of very poorly patients who needed to be admitted to hospital.

“At the same time, the illnesses being suffered by many people meant that they needed to stay in hospital longer and when they were ready to leave, many local care homes were also finding it difficult to accommodate more people as demand for their services was also very high.

“Our community based teams like District Nurses and Therapists did a great job looking after people in their own homes and communities to help reduce their chance of needing hospital care and giving them extra support when they did leave hospital.

“We also worked very closely with our partners in social care to provide the best and most appropriate care for all of our patients.”

Pressures on A+E units across the UK reached record levels this winter with at least 14 NHS trusts in England declaring ‘major incidents’ during the first week of January.

One of these was Scarborough hospital after they experienced an unexpectedly high demand for services which forced them to enact their major incident plan.

Harrogate hospital were forced to open all their extra beds to cope and Mr Harrison also revealed the situation had still not ‘completely eased’.

He said: “During the busiest times, we had all of our extra beds opens in the Hospital and the situation, although better than it was, has not eased completely, as we still have some of these additional beds open now.

“We are a 24 hour, 365 day a year service and are there for our patients whatever the weather, including over the Christmas holidays when most people are off work.

“Our staff worked exceptionally hard to continue to provide safe, high quality care in very challenging circumstances and I would like to thank every one of them for their dedication and commitment.”