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Overcrowding at Treliske: Hospital to 'discharge patients early'

Overcrowding at Treliske: Hospital to 'discharge patients early'

Published by Emma Carton at 7:36am 15th January 2020. (Updated at 3:01pm 15th January 2020)

It is being claimed that Cornwall's main hospital has decided to discharge patients early.

The Guardian says a memo has accepted the move might be necessary to tackle overcrowding.

Treliske has been under extreme pressure since Christmas and spent several days on 'black alert'.

Bosses insist no patients will be sent home if they still need care that can only be given in hospital.

Scroll down to read what the memo says and the full response from Cornwall's health bosses.

Health and Wellbeing Show
It is claimed staff at Cornwall's main hospital have been told to discharge patients early in a bid to tackle overcrowding


What does the memo say?

According to The Guardian, the memo sent to staff on January the 8th was signed by three medical directors.

It includes a section on the pressure facing the Royal Cornwall Hospitals' Trust's A&E department:

"[It] has been under significant pressure for the last two weeks and it is vital that we are able to see and admit our acutely unwell patients through our emergency department and on to our wards".

The paper says the hospital had agreed a plan to relieve pressure with unnamed "health and social care partners" after discussing "a number of possible mitigations".

The memo says: "One of these mitigations was to look at the level of risk that clinicians are taking when discharging patients from Treliske hospital either to home or to community services, recognising that this may be earlier than some clinicians would like and may cause a level of concern.

"It was agreed, however, that this would be a proportionate risk that we as a health community were prepared to take on the understanding that there is a possibility that some of these patients will be readmitted or possibly come to harm".


You can read the full article in The Guardian here.

treliske 1
According to The Guardian, a memo was sent to staff at Treliske in early January after weeks of extreme pressure


What is the response from health bosses?

"Our doctors, nurses and other frontline staff are working exceptionally hard to care safely for the much higher number of older and sicker patients who need our health and care services this winter.

"Nobody will be discharged if they still need care that can only be provided in hospital, but for lots of people it is far better for their physical and psychological wellbeing, and far more convenient for them, to recover at home or in a community setting with the right support, which also means that beds are available for those who need them more.

"The Royal College of Physicians agrees that 'for patients in hospital, if they can be safely supported at home and their treatment and recovery continued there, this should occur as soon as possible. This means that other patients can get hospital care who might otherwise have to wait and be at risk of worse outcomes'."

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health and Care Partnership

Treliske health hospital
Cornwall's health bosses have insisted that nobody will be discharged if they still need care that can only be given in hospital


Where else can I go for treatment?

The Royal Cornwall Hospital has been urging patients to avoid A&E unless it is an emergency for several weeks.

At one point, patients with minor injuries and illnesses were being turned away and redirected to other facilities.

There are 11 minor injury units across Cornwall which are in easy reach of most of the population, many of them open until 10pm.  

Minor injury units can treat a range of conditions which have occurred during the previous 14 days. 

These include sprains and strains; broken bones; minor burns and scalds; head injuries (but not if someone is unconscious); insect and animal bites and stings; minor eye injuries, cuts, bruising and grazes. 

You will be seen by an experienced nurse, without an appointment.

For those who are not sure if their injury is minor and can be treated in a minor injury unit, they can telephone their local unit before setting out (and also confirm the availability of x-ray facilities, if thought to be needed), or call NHS 111.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital is still urging patients to avoid A&E unless it is an absolute emergency


Minor Injury Units:

The links below provide opening times, directions and contact details. 

Up to the minute waiting times for all Minor Injury Units and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Penzance can be found here.

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