Derbyshire, UK, Jan 3, 2023 -- The number of patients using the NHS phone service in Derbyshire during the Christmas bank holiday hit an all-time record – and many more appointments are set to be cancelled due to the rising pressures care staff are facing.
Under-pressure health bosses say calls to 111 in Derbyshire peaked at a rate of around 2,400 per hour during the festive period – at a time when health services in the county are already under "sustained and significant pressure".
Records have also been broken regarding the number of people using Urgent Treatment Centres in Derby and Derbyshire over the Christmas period, with the number of patients said to be 250 per cent higher than in the same period last year. No specific figure of patients has been released but it is expected to be in the hundreds.
A tweet from NHS Derby and Derbyshire said "staff have worked tirelessly to care for a record number of patients".
The records broken do not take into account the demanding and alarming pressure in Derbyshire hospitals, with a critical incident being declared before Christmas.
Health bosses say they are also seeing an impact on social care services as "they cannot always discharge patients at the time they become medically fit to leave because of pressure on the services that care for people outside of hospital".
It all means bosses are having to make difficult decisions to free up capacity and focus on the patients who need care the most. One of their decisions is postponing some elective care treatments. This includes cancelling scans, tests and even surgical treatments when it can.
It was reported in December that more than 275,000 appointments for outpatient and theatre treatment had been cancelled, postponed or rearranged by the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust so far in 2022.
A spokesman from NHS Derby and Derbyshire said: "We have not taken this decision lightly and our commitment is that we will only postpone elective treatment where this is unavoidable. We will contact all patients affected with an assurance that we will reschedule their treatment at the earliest opportunity."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
NHS Direct is a 24 hour health advice and information service provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. NHS Direct provides confidential access to medical information, guidance and reassurance through a range of interactive services. These include an expert telephone advice line and detailed web resources.
Published: Thursday, January 5, 2023
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