Hospitals plan for winter and second wave of Covid-19

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is hoping to receive more than £3m of government winter funding to help Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital this winter.

Hull Royal Infirmary
Hull Royal Infirmary.

Seasonal illnesses like flu among an ageing population, falls caused by bad weather and viruses like RSV and bronchiolitis among children has resulted in major pressures on beds during previous winters.

Plans for this winter are already in place with the threat of a second spike of Covid-19 and hospital services already impacted by the pressures of the pandemic. 

A flu campaign involving a large-scale vaccination programme to help every member of staff avoid the flu and a plan to manage potential problems with the EU exit are also in place.

Deputy Chief Operating Officer Michelle Kemp said: “We have been working for months on plans to see us through winter, regardless of a second wave or not.

“We are doing everything we can to help you or your loved one if you need us and make sure our services and our teams are in the best possible shape.

“But this isn’t just about what we’re doing – you can play a major part in this by only coming to our Emergency Department (ED) with genuine emergencies so we can help those with life-threatening and serious illnesses and injuries.

“If you do this, our hospitals will be able to manage the relentless pressure of winter and whatever else comes our way.”

The trust’s winter plan includes:

  • A new winter ward opening in December with 22 extra beds
  • Pathology services expanded for swift diagnosis, allowing treatment to begin
  • A new contact and acute referral service for GPs
  • Extra nurses and porters in ED to transfer patients who need admitted onto wards
  • Additional admin staff on wards to speed up discharge for patients well enough to go home
  • A new at-home IV service to give antibiotics to sick children, enabling them to stay at home instead of in hospital 
  • Extra clinicians including consultants, specialist nurses and surgical staff
  • Seven-day services in the Cardiology Unit and Cardiac Cath Lab to help patients with heart conditions

In addition, the trust plans for more than £500,000 to be invested in additional clinical support services including the flu campaign, pharmacy, diagnostic services such as MRI and CT and therapies to ensure patients get access to rehabilitation and support.

Extra nurses will also be recruited to work as part of the teams at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital.

[Allison Coggan – Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust]