Woolwich Queen Elizabeth Hospital forced to limit emergency patients

A number of emergency patients have been diverted to central London hospitals after issues with oxygen supply at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich.

The Independent report that a high number of covid patients has placed heavy strain on resources. Children and cardiac patients are still accepted.

QE Hospital in Woolwich now takes emergency patients from large areas of Bexley borough after A&E services at Sidcup’s Queen Mary’s Hospital closed. That was on a “temporary” basis – though it never reopened.

Bexley borough is currently in the top 10 local authorities nationwide for covid cases. Data out today shows a weekly growth rate of 29.2 per cent and overall rate of 1120.9 cases per 100k people.

In addition QE Hospital caters for a fast growing population in Greenwich borough, which is also seeing a substantial growth in cases. Numbers today for Greenwich show 38.4 per cent weekly growth and overall levels at 761.3 per 100k.

The latest admission data shows a 33.1 per cent weekly increase in Lewisham & Greenwich Trust which manages the hospital alongside Lewisham.

The ambulance service is also under heavy pressure with pleas made to only dial 999 in an emergency, and 111 for other issues.

QE last week announced the cancellation of a number of routine operations. They stated:

“We are seeing increased demand for our services at present, due to Covid-19 and a high number of patients accessing urgent and emergency care.

To ensure we can continue to provide safe and effective care for those patients that need it, we have taken the decision to cancel all routine planned operations for the time being, other than for cancer and endoscopy.

Urgent and life saving surgery, and operations for those who have been waiting for longer than 80 weeks, will continue.

Most outpatient appointments and diagnostics (including MRI, CT, ultrasound, echocardiography and endoscopy) will go ahead as normal.”

UPDATE: The Trust have now put out a statement.

“As you may have heard in the media, we declared an internal incident at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) on Sunday 27 December as a precautionary step due to the high number of Covid-positive patients we are seeing at the hospital. We have been following our plan to cope with a second wave of Covid-19 and are working closely with hospital and healthcare partners in south east London.

All our patients have received the treatment they need, including intensive care treatment for Covid-19 and oxygen therapy as required. We are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure that this remains the case.”

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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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