Dudley NHS Trust: West Midlands hospital 'declares critical incident' over bed shortage

A hospital in the West Midlands has reportedly declared a critical incident over a bed shortage – just 24 hours after two Sussex hospitals were forced to divert ambulances.

Russells Hall in Dudley declared the critical incident on Monday afternoon, according to reports.

Diane Wake, the chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said services are currently facing "severe pressure" and "significant demand".

She said: "In response to severe pressure on our services, we are taking action to prioritise and maintain safe services for our patients.

"We are seeing significant demand upon all our services across the Trust, including a high number of patients waiting for treatment in our emergency department. As a result of these high numbers there are long waits in our emergency department, and ultimately longer waits for admission into our wards.

"Our staff are working tirelessly to provide the best possible care under these challenging circumstances in a safe and timely manner. Our main focus is providing care for patients who need urgent or emergency care, and those who are receiving inpatient care in our clinical sites.

"Our health and care services are continuing to work together to resolve the situation."

People who need medical help are being urged to contact the NHS via 111 or online, or use a local service such as their GP or a pharmacist.

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust's website says Russells Hall is one of three facilities that enables it to be the main provider of hospital and adult community services to the populations of Dudley, parts of the Sandwell borough and some communities in South Staffordshire and Wyre Forest - serving a population of around 450,000 people in total.

The critical incident is the latest in a series of issues faced by hospitals in a winter that has seen strikes hit services and waiting lists remain long.

Read more:
What the latest figures show about waiting lists and times
Several trusts declare critical incidents as doctors' strike starts
NHS pessimism creeping up as doctors demand 35% pay rise

Last week, it was revealed the longest strike in NHS history, during which junior doctors walked out for six days, led to more than 113,000 patient operations, appointments and procedures being postponed.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Royal Sussex County and Princess Royal hospitals - in Brighton and Haywards Heath, respectively - declared critical incidents after significant phone and IT problems.