Trust makes Twitter plea for off-duty nurses to work amid ‘severe’ A&E pressures

A&E pressures prompts one trust’s plea on social media and radio for off-duty nurses to work an extra shift.

A&E pressures caused by an influx of patients to a hospital trust prompted a plea on social media and radio for off-duty nurses to work an extra shift.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust made the appeal on the bank holiday Monday, 2 January to try and open more beds so that patients could be moved from overstretched emergency departments.

People were asked to avoid using emergency services at Furness General Hospital because of severe staff shortages on the new year's bank holiday. Picture: Alamy

At the same time the trust also tweeted that people should only come to A&E with serious or life-threatening conditions or injuries.  

Staffing gaps

While no nurses responded to the Twitter message, ward managers managed to call some colleagues who helped colleagues at Furness General Hospital and the Royal Lancaster Infirmary through the stretched period, a senior manager said. Other nurses were moved around to fill staffing gaps.

Tristram Reynolds, the senior manager at the trust that day, said ward nurses were needed to open up extra beds, and some A&E staff were needed to deal with the extra pressures.

Mr Reynolds said he had already been called by another trust in the region before 6am asking if they had any spare beds.

Long waits 

‘At 9.15am we found that our hospitals in Barrow and Lancaster were severely pressured and I expect other hospitals were in the same position,’ he said. ‘Most of the patients were over 80 and very frail.’

Trolleys in A&E cubicles were swapped with beds for patients who had long waits, he said.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust made a similar Twitter appeal to staff to work extra hours in January 2015.

Warnings to patients

Many trusts are currently taking to social media to encourage patients to only use their A&E departments if seriously unwell.

They include Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which tweeted on 4 January: ‘Lancashire A&E and urgent care units are extremely busy. Remember A&E is for serious and life-threatening emergencies only!’

While Yeovil Hospital Healthcare tweeted: ‘Exceptionally busy here today. Please don’t come to A&E unless absolutely necessary.’


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