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Winter weeks will be ‘worse than usual’, St Mary’s chief warns

Wards already out of action because of 'estates problems'

17 November, 2017 — By Tom Foot

How the redeveloped St Mary’s will look

NHS chiefs at St Mary’s Hospital have warned they expect this winter to “worse than usual” for flu infections as they unveiled a £1million package of new measures.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital in Paddington, is aiming to boost urgent and emergency care with a “get winter ready” campaign.

December and January are traditionally extremely busy in hospitals with longer waiting times and increased admissions.

This year the hospital is struggling with patient wards being out action because of redevelopment work on the main site.

Divisional director of medicine Professor Tim Orchard, who leads the trust’s urgent and emergency pathway improvement programme, said: “We are expecting this winter to be worse than usual for flu infection. We’ve also already got a lot of pressure on our in-patient beds, partly as a result of estates problems causing wards to be out of action for repair work but also because we are seeing more urgent and emergency admissions. There’s been an 11 per cent increase since 2015/16.”

The trust, which is in the process of expanding the St Mary’s A&E, said it would increase medical and nursing staff in the emergency unit. It is adding 20 “flex beds” that will be available to emergency patients and 42 extra winter beds for non-emergency sickness. The hospital’s frailty teams would be expanded and there would be extra transport and porter resource, the trust said.

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