MP praises staff as NHS crisis grows

Wigan Infirmary's A&E department
Wigan Infirmary's A&E department

Wigan’s MP has praised Wigan’s hospital at a time when the NHS is facing an unprecedented crisis.

Lisa Nandy has said that staff at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s (WWL) A&E department are “pushing themselves to the limit” to continue to provide a good service for patients despite the current strain on the department.

Our NHS is under unprecedented strain. Years of Tory cuts to GP services, walk in centres and social care have left many hospitals struggling to cope

Lisa Nandy

It comes following reports that more than four in 10 hospitals in England have been forced to declare major alerts in the first few weeks of the new year because of the pressure, according to the BBC.

WWL has not triggered an alert but is still under considerable pressure, with issues such a norovirus outbreak contributing to the problems.

She said: “Our NHS is under unprecedented strain. Years of Tory cuts to GP services, walk in centres and social care have left many hospitals struggling to cope. It’s devastating that the British Red Cross, a charity more used to working in war zones, have drafted in emergency volunteers to help with what they call a humanitarian crisis.

“We are lucky in Wigan to have a well-run hospital staffed by dedicated professionals who push themselves to the limit. Because of this, even with the closure of Chorley A&E, the hospital has continued to provide a good service to patients and outperform other hospitals in Greater Manchester. But it’s increasingly clear that this situation is unsustainable.

“Instead of trying to sweep this under the carpet Theresa May must face up to the crisis engulfing our NHS.”

Data leaked to the BBC shows that performance against the target to treat 95 per cent of patients within four hours has sunk to its lowest level since it was introduced in 2004.

In the first week in January, Wigan’s A&E was so busy that ambulances were forced to park on the road outside the Infirmary while they waited to discharge their patients into hospital care.

Some crews were facing waits of up to four hours at the hospital with a patient before they could be discharged.

A spokesman for the trust said that norovirus had been forced to close three wards at the hospital to new admissions (all of which have since reopened) meaning they were unable to move patients through the hospital as quickly as they would like.

Residents with symptoms of the vomiting and diarrhoea are being urged to stay away from the hospital while anyone heading to A&E is being asked to consider other options such a walk-in centres and GPs first.

Mary Fleming, Director of Operations and Performance, states: “We are still anticipating that the significant pressures will remain within the hospital over the next couple of weeks as this is traditionally our busiest time of the year.

“We are asking the public to think twice and make sure they choose the right service. Making the right choice will ensure the right treatment is given as quickly as possible.”