Internal major incident stood down

The internal major incident declared by local NHS organisations in North Cumbria on Wednesday 18 March, has today been stood down (Monday 23 March) thanks to partners continuing to work together to improve patient flow across the health system.

Pressures on local services peaked last Wednesday morning when hospitals in Carlisle and Whitehaven reached capacity with all possible escalation beds open and difficulties in safely discharging patients, in a timely way, to appropriate care settings.  This placed a huge strain on the effective running of services at The Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital. 

Thanks to the collective efforts of all partners working together, the Trust has now been able to successfully reduce the need to maintain escalation beds which was putting a major strain on staff and the ability to safely run services.

 This collective work, however, must now continue so that all patients are receiving their care in the right place, at the right time and in the appropriate care setting.  This is not always in an acute hospital bed and means making sure that patients, who are medically fit, can be safely discharged home or to an agreed care setting with the right social care support in place.

 Dr Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Patient care and safety has been our prime concern throughout this incident and we very grateful for everyone’s efforts over the past few days in resolving the immediate pressures facing hospital services.

“The pressures seen in recent weeks are a reflection of the scale and nature of much wider challenges across the entire health and social care system in North Cumbria and we continue to work collectively to ensure that any patients waiting unnecessarily in an acute hospital bed, are moved to the right care setting sooner rather than later.

“We would like to thank all staff for their effort and commitment during these particularly challenging times and also thank patients and the public for their co-operation.”

A spokesperson for NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“We would like to thank all partners who have been working so hard over the past week to get services back on track and running smoothly, including those organisations outside of the county who have provided mutual aid.

“Throughout this challenging time, patient safety has been at the heart of all decision making and it is a real testament to everyone’s coordinated efforts and the dedication of frontline teams that the local health economy has been able to stand down the internal major incident

“Our focus now is on making sure that we learn from the events of the past week and also that partners continue to work effectively together so that all patients get the right care, at the right time and in the right place.”