'Critical’ incident declared at Wigan Infirmary

A 24-hour “critical” incident was called at Wigan’s hospitals trust due to the unprecedented demand for care on Sunday.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 13th August 2021, 9:54 am
Mary Fleming director of operations outside A&E at Wigan Infirmary

Ambulances were taking patients to other hospitals, meetings were cancelled and other steps taken to help staff care for the high number of patients being admitted.

An appeal was made on social media for people to only go to the A&E unit for treatment in emergencies and for life-threatening conditions.

Mary Fleming, deputy chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We can confirm that we have called an internal critical incident, this is due to the number of extremely unwell patients who have been admitted through our emergency care department. Calling this internal critical incident has allowed us to take a number of actions to try and relieve the pressures, resulting in us seeking mutual support from across the Wigan borough and Greater Manchester.

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“We will continue to work hard to address the level of demand on our services. We would like to thank the public for their support and patience, and we would advise that unless you are experiencing serious or life-threatening illnesses, to please seek alternatives to A&E.

“Our staff are doing an incredible job to care for the most unwell people as safely as possible. Please continue to support our staff by accessing the most appropriate care – call NHS 111 first, this is a 24-hour service providing professional advice in order to get you the right care in the right place."

Things returned to normal on Monday.

Declaring an internal critical incident is a proactive measure which helps the trust to cope with the demand it faces by pausing work in other areas to focus on those where pressure is highest.

The hospital still acts as part of the critical care network across the Greater Manchester Integrated Care System, which allows its to divert patients to other hospitals if necessary.

It also provides this support for other trusts when required, something it has done within the last week.

It comes after May was the busiest month for the hospital’s A&E unit, with more patients recorded since monthly attendances started being collected back in 2015.

Attendances were slightly down in June and have not yet been published for July, but it has been a very busy summer for the hospital’s staff, who are also still treating coronavirus patients and dealing with the impact of the pandemic and on staffing levels within the hospital.

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