A critical incident was declared by Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust on (Wednesday 1 November 2023) due to the sustained high demand of there services. After seeing and the number of patients needing to admission through our Emergency Department.

The Emergency Department (ED) at Queen Alexandra Hospital will continue to redirect patients to alternative services. When appropriate and would like to remind our communities that the ED is only for people with life threatening conditions or injuries.

Our dedicated teams are working hard to make sure the needs of our patients are being met. However, this has become increasingly difficult as demand rises. To protect the safe provision of services we are working closely with partners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and are also asking for your help.

Ahead of winter, we have already seen

  • The number of people attending the Emergency Department more than 10 per cent higher than the same period last year with around a third of patients requiring a stay with us.
  • Almost every bed at Queen Alexandra Hospital being occupied by patients needing care.
  • A lower number of patients being discharged than we would usually expect.

Dr Mark Roland, Deputy Medical Director at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: “We are seeing a high number of people attending our Emergency Department and it is currently full with patients requiring admission. This means that we are seeing delays for both patients arriving by ambulance and those walking in that are much longer than we would like.

“The safety and wellbeing of our patients and our staff is important and unfortunately, due to the sustained and significant pressure we have been facing, we were having difficulty maintaining this and have declared a critical incident. This means we will be prioritising the treatment of emergency patients and anyone who attends the Emergency Department but doesn’t need to be treated there will be redirected to an alternative service.

“To help us care for unwell patients in our communities who require admission to hospital, we need to create space, so our immediate priority is to work with partners and our patients to safely discharge anyone who is ready to return home or to an alternative place of care. If you have loved ones in the hospital who are well enough to be discharged, we need you to help get them home in an appropriate time frame.”

This includes ensuring they have clothing to travel in and you have arranged appropriate transport. More information on how you can help with this can be found on our website.

Mark added, “We urge you to not attend the Emergency Department unless it’s an emergency. Non-emergency attendances will not be seen and you will be redirected to the Urgent Treatment Centres at St Mary’s Hospital, Gosport and Petersfield. If you need to know where to get help and support, please go to NHS 111 Online.”

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust will be reviewing the situation regularly and thanks our staff, communities and partners for their ongoing support.

If you’re unsure what support is available, our website includes lots of advice to help you #KnowWhereToGo.