News from A&E at Royal Derby Hospital: general manager David Ainsworth on how staff coped with the snow
DAVID Ainsworth is the general manager for acute medicine at Derby's hospitals. Here, he gave our website updates on how hospital staff coped with the snowy conditions today:
5pm: Rounding off the blog for today. It's been busy across the hospital. Staff and patients have done really well getting into work and arriving on time for their appointments. A&E have seen over 180 patients since midnight. They've coped with their usual daily pressures of dealing with the most sickest of patients to the most minor. Take care as you travel home, further icy weather is predicted.
We hope you've enjoyed the blog and you've had an insight into the workings of the hospital during bad weather. I've got a few more hours to go before I head home myself and start again tomorrow. In the meantime, our night staff are preparing to come in and take care of our patients through the night.
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4pm: We've just finished our bed meeting. It's looking busy across the hospital. We're expecting 13 patients from GP home visits into our medical assessment unit.
3.20pm: Four ambulances have arrived in A&E since 3pm and we are expecting a further three in the next five minutes. Royal Derby works closely with East Midlands Ambulance Service, which developed a web page showing when ambulances are in-bound. It's helpful for us to plan our resources and improves communication.
3.10pm: Remember A&E is for accidents and emergencies, not anything and everything. If you have a dental problem, there are emergency dentists available. Dial 111 or visit the NHS Choices website.
3.05pm: The volunteers provide an excellent support to the busy hospital. Their three buggies have been busy fetching and carrying people inside the hospital corridors to their appointments. A big well done and thank you to all our hospital volunteers. If you'd like to volunteer, get in touch.
2.20pm: We are filling our beds in the hospital with poorly patients who need to stay in for treatment and further stablisation. The medical assessment unit is expecting six patients whose GPs have referred them in for admission, following their home visits.
2.15pm: A gentleman arrives in the fracture clinic after his fall in the snow this weekend. His fractured ankle is in a plaster and he's here to see the orthopaedic specialist. He's facing four weeks in plaster and hoping to avoid an operation to repair the bone deformity.
2.08pm: I've just been speaking to a lady in the corridor, sat waiting for her daughter to fetch her chair. She's wearing five layers, has a scarf and gloves and a tartan blanket......well done, great thinking.
2.05pm: A&E is caring for a number of older people suffering respiratory breathing problems. Colder weather clearly affects people's underlying medical conditions. Keep warm, keep well.
2pm: A&E is getting busier, we have 65 patients in the department. Broken down, that's 16 in our majors trolley area, four patients in our resuscitation room, seven just arrived at the main entrance by ambulance and 18 patients in minor injury area.
1.30pm: It's clear the weather is having an impact on people having accidents. The minor injury unit, in Ilkeston, and the walk in centre, in Osmaston Road, are sending patients to Royal Derby for specialist opinion and treatment.
1pm: Our clinics in outpatients are starting work for the afternoon and it looks as though patients are getting here safely.
12.30pm: The orthopaedic team have come down to help in A&E deal with difficult broken bones which may need operations to repair them.
12.28pm: A hospital car park attendant is sheltering in a doorway. She says people have been driving sensibly on the internal roads around the hospital site.
12.25pm: Outpatient clinics are finishing this morning's appointments. They've done really well and most patients have made it to their appointment. A&E has got busy with 50 patients now. We're seeing more slips and falls in the snow and, as expected, broken bones are the main feature for many of our patients.
12.20pm: The Met Office have sent us a severe weather warning: "Icy conditions are expected to be widespread with some freezing fog also likely to become more prevalent".
12.15pm: We've just finished the 12pm meeting to review how we are coping across the hospital. The Trust is on amber alert, which means there are no major concerns. A few more light flakes of snow fall.
11.20am: We speak live on radio, reassuring patients its business as usual and they can still come and expect to be seen as clinics are running as planned. We were also reminding people to choose well by using alternatives to A&E - such as the walk in centre, 111 and their own GP.
11am: There are now 31 patients in the emergency department.
10.35am: A team from the hospital meet with social services to plan the patients being discharged home today and this week.
10.30am: Some patients are refusing to travel in for their outpatient appointments due to the weather conditions. One gentleman offered to slide his wheelcahir down a hill to get to the ambulance at the bottom of his street. The crew felt this was a little dangerous, so we're rebooking his appointment.
10.20am: I pass a patient being wheeled to theatre for their operation. Another sign that it's business as usual for most.
9.50am: The emergency department is coping, only 12 patients there right now - none of which are with weather-related problems.
9.15am: Transport ring to say they are struggling to collect a patient from Stanton. They call and let the patient know and we can rearrange their appointment. We'll be giving priority to kidney dialysis patients and anyone coming for cancer treatments like radiotherapy.
9am: Staff are still arriving into work, delayed by the slow traffic on our roads. The main entrance has extra volunteers helping people find where they are going to ease their worries of arriving late. Additional cleaners are mopping the drips from the floors to prevent slips and trips. There's a porter pushing a trolley of hospital notes into clinic, evidence the hospital is carrying on regardless.
8am: We need to take a decision on non-urgent ambulance journeys. We'll have many outpatient clinics whose patients will arrive by an ambulance. There is a risk to ambulance staff and roads are slow. We decide to deal with each patient on a case-by-case basis and to continue as normal until crews tell us they cannot get safely to the patients address. We'll send a communication out to clinics, asking them to be flexible around patients arriving late due to weather conditions.