UPDATE: I’ve been told its been there since last year. It appears the hospital is running above capacity and this “quick fix” has been operating now for some time. It’s clearly no permanent solution. Some people behind were in severe pain, lacked dignity and were visible to many people.
ORIGINAL STORY – With cold weather currently rolling into London a recent visit to QE Hospital in Woolwich painted a worrying picture.
Whilst waiting I could see a corridor sealed off (but not particularly well and all the poor people behind were easily seen. And there was a lot of them.
Now bear in mind this was when the temperature was above 10c. Next week freezing conditions will be increasingly apparent and fears for the service are very real.
There have been warnings all winter long over pressure on hospitals but we have yet to have any severe cold periods. That now appears to be changing.
Norovirus is also playing a part. Numbers of beds closed increased from 2,397 in the first week of January to 4,318 in the second.
Around £420 million has gone into resilience planning for the NHS this winter but is it enough? QE has seen more beds this year but population rises are high across the borough (and beyond) and closures of NHS walk in centres and long waits for GPs exacerbate issues.
Less people are also taking up free flu jabs this year compared to last.
Despite all these pressures and being worked extremely hard, all staff I saw were an absolute credit to the service and gave wonderful care.