SALISBURY District Hospital has declared a critical incident, caused by ambulance delays, staff sickness, and the number of patients waiting to be discharged.

As of 7.50am today, July 14, the hospital has been dealing with increasing operational pressures, causing the critical incident to be announced publically at around 1pm.

Confirming the critical levels, Andy Hyett, chief operating officer at the hospital, said the issues are affecting the level of care that can be given to those entering the site.

He said: “We are currently operating at a critical incident level which means we are unable to deliver the comprehensive care that we need to, due to the high volume of patients coming through our doors and the staff shortages we’re experiencing.

“To reduce pressure on the hospital, we would like to strongly encourage our local community to help us by only attending A&E if they are experiencing a life-threatening condition such as heart attacks, strokes or sepsis, or if they have a serious injury.

“Our clinical teams will be prioritising the extremely ill, so if you do come to A&E with a condition that is not deteriorating, it is unlikely you will be seen for a long period of time.”

Teams across the hospital have implemented back-up plans to try and resolve some of the issues, so the hospital can remain open and safe.

Deputy CEO Lisa Thomas added: "I am grateful to everyone at the hospital who has worked so hard to maintain our services under very difficult circumstances.

“I am incredibly sorry for the disruption and would like to thank our community in advance for working with us to try and alleviate some of the pressure that we’re currently experiencing and to patients for their tolerance and understanding."

Urging the public to think about alternatives to A&E, the hospital has advised that Salisbury Walk-in Centre and NHS 111, online and by phone, are other options for medical issues. 

For minor illness community pharmacists can provide advice and a range of over-the-counter medicine and treatments.

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