Watford General Hospital 'very busy' due to Bank Holiday pressure

Watford General Hospital 'very busy' due to Bank Holiday pressure

Watford General Hospital 'very busy' due to Bank Holiday pressure

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Watford General Hospital is very busy this morning after an increase in the number of sick patients visiting the A&E department after the Bank Holiday weekend.

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which are in charge of the Vicarage Road hospital, is warning residents that the A&E department is "very busy" after an increase in the number of sick patients needing treatment in hospital.

However, the A&E department is still open. 

Dr Mike Van Der Watt, medical director said: "Bank Holidays weekends, and the immediate few days afterwards, often prove very busy for accident and emergency departments across the country.

"Whilst the level of attendances at our A&E hasn’t increased significantly, we have seen a rise in the number of sicker patients who need additional care and who need to be admitted.

"We would like to remind local people that our A&E department is for people with serious injuries and illnesses, and to encourage those with minor conditions to use other services, for instance our urgent care centre (UCC) at Hemel Hempstead Hospital (open 24/7) and our minor injuries unit (MIU) at St Albans Hospital (open 9am to 8pm).  People can also call NHS111 for advice and support."

Comments (9)

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12:55pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

Sounds like more pressure on the budget. When are our Tory MP and Coalition Conservative Mayor going to start hammering the Treasury door for more money for patient treatment and care at Watford General? Instead all there attention is focused on building 700 flats on the Cardiff Road Industrial estate and Farm Terrace allotments. Even they must realise that there is no point having a new access road to the hospital, if the hospital has to use all its available funds on A&E treatment to the detriment of other medical care.
Sounds like more pressure on the budget. When are our Tory MP and Coalition Conservative Mayor going to start hammering the Treasury door for more money for patient treatment and care at Watford General? Instead all there attention is focused on building 700 flats on the Cardiff Road Industrial estate and Farm Terrace allotments. Even they must realise that there is no point having a new access road to the hospital, if the hospital has to use all its available funds on A&E treatment to the detriment of other medical care. Andrew1963
  • Score: 7

1:47pm Wed 27 Aug 14

garston tony says...

Andrew1963 wrote:
Sounds like more pressure on the budget. When are our Tory MP and Coalition Conservative Mayor going to start hammering the Treasury door for more money for patient treatment and care at Watford General? Instead all there attention is focused on building 700 flats on the Cardiff Road Industrial estate and Farm Terrace allotments. Even they must realise that there is no point having a new access road to the hospital, if the hospital has to use all its available funds on A&E treatment to the detriment of other medical care.
No, I remember going back many years friends of mine who work for the NHS talking about how it was always busier after bank holidays etc as people have more days in which to do stupid things which lead to them needing hospital treatment.

This isnt anything to do with budgets otherwise the story would be that the A&E department were struggling with an average amount of people visiting them. The article is quite clearly about a higher than normal amount of people going to a&e, but of course some people just ignore the facts and try and tell what story suits them
[quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: Sounds like more pressure on the budget. When are our Tory MP and Coalition Conservative Mayor going to start hammering the Treasury door for more money for patient treatment and care at Watford General? Instead all there attention is focused on building 700 flats on the Cardiff Road Industrial estate and Farm Terrace allotments. Even they must realise that there is no point having a new access road to the hospital, if the hospital has to use all its available funds on A&E treatment to the detriment of other medical care.[/p][/quote]No, I remember going back many years friends of mine who work for the NHS talking about how it was always busier after bank holidays etc as people have more days in which to do stupid things which lead to them needing hospital treatment. This isnt anything to do with budgets otherwise the story would be that the A&E department were struggling with an average amount of people visiting them. The article is quite clearly about a higher than normal amount of people going to a&e, but of course some people just ignore the facts and try and tell what story suits them garston tony
  • Score: -3

2:30pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

garston tony wrote:
Andrew1963 wrote:
Sounds like more pressure on the budget. When are our Tory MP and Coalition Conservative Mayor going to start hammering the Treasury door for more money for patient treatment and care at Watford General? Instead all there attention is focused on building 700 flats on the Cardiff Road Industrial estate and Farm Terrace allotments. Even they must realise that there is no point having a new access road to the hospital, if the hospital has to use all its available funds on A&E treatment to the detriment of other medical care.
No, I remember going back many years friends of mine who work for the NHS talking about how it was always busier after bank holidays etc as people have more days in which to do stupid things which lead to them needing hospital treatment.

This isnt anything to do with budgets otherwise the story would be that the A&E department were struggling with an average amount of people visiting them. The article is quite clearly about a higher than normal amount of people going to a&e, but of course some people just ignore the facts and try and tell what story suits them
The story does not say A&E is busier die to more accidents, it says the hospital is under pressure due to more admissions for illnesses, not that there are more people than normal presenting themselves. More treatment for more complex needs that take longer require more resources and therefore greater costs. People who don't read the story really should not assume that when a hospital official says "Whilst the level of attendances at our A&E hasn’t increased significantly, we have seen a rise in the number of sicker patients who need additional care and who need to be admitted" they dont mean - we have more sprains, curs and fractures to deal with. More admissions from A&E puts pressure on budgets of the hospital. If you dont understand why - i can explain with the example of the impact of a severe winter and how more admissions creates deficiets for hiospitals. Unlike health commissioners who set budgets for planned treatments like elective surgery. Do try and keep up!
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew1963[/bold] wrote: Sounds like more pressure on the budget. When are our Tory MP and Coalition Conservative Mayor going to start hammering the Treasury door for more money for patient treatment and care at Watford General? Instead all there attention is focused on building 700 flats on the Cardiff Road Industrial estate and Farm Terrace allotments. Even they must realise that there is no point having a new access road to the hospital, if the hospital has to use all its available funds on A&E treatment to the detriment of other medical care.[/p][/quote]No, I remember going back many years friends of mine who work for the NHS talking about how it was always busier after bank holidays etc as people have more days in which to do stupid things which lead to them needing hospital treatment. This isnt anything to do with budgets otherwise the story would be that the A&E department were struggling with an average amount of people visiting them. The article is quite clearly about a higher than normal amount of people going to a&e, but of course some people just ignore the facts and try and tell what story suits them[/p][/quote]The story does not say A&E is busier die to more accidents, it says the hospital is under pressure due to more admissions for illnesses, not that there are more people than normal presenting themselves. More treatment for more complex needs that take longer require more resources and therefore greater costs. People who don't read the story really should not assume that when a hospital official says "Whilst the level of attendances at our A&E hasn’t increased significantly, we have seen a rise in the number of sicker patients who need additional care and who need to be admitted" they dont mean - we have more sprains, curs and fractures to deal with. More admissions from A&E puts pressure on budgets of the hospital. If you dont understand why - i can explain with the example of the impact of a severe winter and how more admissions creates deficiets for hiospitals. Unlike health commissioners who set budgets for planned treatments like elective surgery. Do try and keep up! Andrew1963
  • Score: 5

3:07pm Wed 27 Aug 14

HornetJJ says...

If idiots didn't treat A&E like a Doctor's surgery it wouldn't half as bad!
If idiots didn't treat A&E like a Doctor's surgery it wouldn't half as bad! HornetJJ
  • Score: 14

5:00pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

HornetJJ wrote:
If idiots didn't treat A&E like a Doctor's surgery it wouldn't half as bad!
That's all true, but the story is that more people than ever need admission to a hospital ward (which probably means they have a significant health problem) and as a result A&E is blocking up as there is no room to move people out of A&E and the AAU to the general hospital wards - in effect the issue is a shortage of hospital resources, not a shortage of GP appointments.
[quote][p][bold]HornetJJ[/bold] wrote: If idiots didn't treat A&E like a Doctor's surgery it wouldn't half as bad![/p][/quote]That's all true, but the story is that more people than ever need admission to a hospital ward (which probably means they have a significant health problem) and as a result A&E is blocking up as there is no room to move people out of A&E and the AAU to the general hospital wards - in effect the issue is a shortage of hospital resources, not a shortage of GP appointments. Andrew1963
  • Score: 6

6:03pm Wed 27 Aug 14

D_Penn says...

I recall that when GP's contracts were altered a few years back it became much harder to get an appointment and people around the country complained they could wait three days for an appointment. So now I wonder if surgeries being closed over the bank holiday is a significant factor.

It would seem likely that if someone feels really ill then at times, A&E is probably the only place they can go to be seen in a reasonable period - and I'm not sure you could blame them. After all, if you had a sick child would you sit back and wait until it was convenient for a GP to get the time to look at them?

That said, I do not know how easy or hard it is to get to see a doctor in Watford and surrounding areas. Does anyone have any examples of experiences, good or bad. I'd really like to know what the general view is out there.
I recall that when GP's contracts were altered a few years back it became much harder to get an appointment and people around the country complained they could wait three days for an appointment. So now I wonder if surgeries being closed over the bank holiday is a significant factor. It would seem likely that if someone feels really ill then at times, A&E is probably the only place they can go to be seen in a reasonable period - and I'm not sure you could blame them. After all, if you had a sick child would you sit back and wait until it was convenient for a GP to get the time to look at them? That said, I do not know how easy or hard it is to get to see a doctor in Watford and surrounding areas. Does anyone have any examples of experiences, good or bad. I'd really like to know what the general view is out there. D_Penn
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Thu 28 Aug 14

garston tony says...

Andrew1963, the article clearly makes a correlation between the bank holiday weekend and the increase in admissions to A&E.

So it being busy this weekend was due to people going in, not due to any long term budget cuts.

Just like everyone knows that Friday/Saturday night is manic thanks to drunks and druggies who have over indulged
Andrew1963, the article clearly makes a correlation between the bank holiday weekend and the increase in admissions to A&E. So it being busy this weekend was due to people going in, not due to any long term budget cuts. Just like everyone knows that Friday/Saturday night is manic thanks to drunks and druggies who have over indulged garston tony
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Thu 28 Aug 14

Andrew1963 says...

garston tony wrote:
Andrew1963, the article clearly makes a correlation between the bank holiday weekend and the increase in admissions to A&E.

So it being busy this weekend was due to people going in, not due to any long term budget cuts.

Just like everyone knows that Friday/Saturday night is manic thanks to drunks and druggies who have over indulged
Two points Tony. (1) read this in the story - quote "Whilst the level of attendances at our A&E hasn’t increased significantly, we have seen a rise in the number of sicker patients who need additional care and who need to be admitted". So the story is quite clear, the bank holiday has not seen an increase in admissions to A&E - It is the number of people requiring in patient treatment that is the issue! (2) If you read my comment (rather than putting words in my mouth) I said more admissions will put pressure on the budget - they are having to treat more in-patients than planned. The budget will therefore be under strain - i never said the budget was cut, I suggested that the hospital which expects to spend £14 million more than in the budget this year, a stonking deficit, will find that these extra admissions will put further pressure on its inadequate budget. This is because the normal practice at bank holidays is to send as many people home from the general wards as possible to reduce the number of nursing and other medical staff costs over a public holiday weekend. This story has nothing to do with drunks, drug takers, people burning themselves on BBQs, people falling off ladders doing DIY, etc turning up at A&E to be patched up and sent home - it is about the hospital having to spend more on in patient care and having to divert limited doctor and nursing resources from A&E to the general wards to cope. In summary the hospital is struggling to meet demand, its budget is already insufficient - Therefore this should result in our senior politicians demanding more money to meet demand.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Andrew1963, the article clearly makes a correlation between the bank holiday weekend and the increase in admissions to A&E. So it being busy this weekend was due to people going in, not due to any long term budget cuts. Just like everyone knows that Friday/Saturday night is manic thanks to drunks and druggies who have over indulged[/p][/quote]Two points Tony. (1) read this in the story - quote "Whilst the level of attendances at our A&E hasn’t increased significantly, we have seen a rise in the number of sicker patients who need additional care and who need to be admitted". So the story is quite clear, the bank holiday has not seen an increase in admissions to A&E - It is the number of people requiring in patient treatment that is the issue! (2) If you read my comment (rather than putting words in my mouth) I said more admissions will put pressure on the budget - they are having to treat more in-patients than planned. The budget will therefore be under strain - i never said the budget was cut, I suggested that the hospital which expects to spend £14 million more than in the budget this year, a stonking deficit, will find that these extra admissions will put further pressure on its inadequate budget. This is because the normal practice at bank holidays is to send as many people home from the general wards as possible to reduce the number of nursing and other medical staff costs over a public holiday weekend. This story has nothing to do with drunks, drug takers, people burning themselves on BBQs, people falling off ladders doing DIY, etc turning up at A&E to be patched up and sent home - it is about the hospital having to spend more on in patient care and having to divert limited doctor and nursing resources from A&E to the general wards to cope. In summary the hospital is struggling to meet demand, its budget is already insufficient - Therefore this should result in our senior politicians demanding more money to meet demand. Andrew1963
  • Score: 1

12:48pm Thu 28 Aug 14

mc77 says...

There are a number of factors at work here. But the most important is basic maths. The number of inpatient hospital beds in West Herts (Hemel Hempstead and St Albans) has been slashed. Watford is the only hospital to have in-patient facilities for acute admissions. There may be the relatively new AAU, but it is still far less than was available a few years ago across the West Herts sites.
As a direct result, Watford now operates at nearly 100% full most of the time. People being seen in A+E that require admission have to wait within the department on a one-out-one-in basis. A+E remains full of patients waiting for a bed on the wards with no trolleys for new patients and the ambulance service remaining with their patients until a trolley becomes free.
Add to that the "perfect storm" of a bank holiday weekend (very few discharges) and the difficulty people have to get a GP appointment and it's a recipe for disaster.

There is a walk-in minor injuries/illnesses unit at Hemel (at the site of the old A+E) which also houses the "West Herts Medical Centre" - a walk in GP clinic. There are appointments available for a GP through the 111 service for all out-of-hours needs.
And whilst I don't agree that our A+E services should be downgraded in this way - they are there, 24 hours a day.

I'm sick of the propaganda fed to the press that the "NHS is failing". This is to make people think that the only way to get some kind of decent service is to bring private contractors in. This is not true. The government have put targets in place and through funding cuts have made these targets impossible to hit, thereby setting it up to fail for their own gain.
The NHS isn't failing, our government is failing the NHS.
There are a number of factors at work here. But the most important is basic maths. The number of inpatient hospital beds in West Herts (Hemel Hempstead and St Albans) has been slashed. Watford is the only hospital to have in-patient facilities for acute admissions. There may be the relatively new AAU, but it is still far less than was available a few years ago across the West Herts sites. As a direct result, Watford now operates at nearly 100% full most of the time. People being seen in A+E that require admission have to wait within the department on a one-out-one-in basis. A+E remains full of patients waiting for a bed on the wards with no trolleys for new patients and the ambulance service remaining with their patients until a trolley becomes free. Add to that the "perfect storm" of a bank holiday weekend (very few discharges) and the difficulty people have to get a GP appointment and it's a recipe for disaster. There is a walk-in minor injuries/illnesses unit at Hemel (at the site of the old A+E) which also houses the "West Herts Medical Centre" - a walk in GP clinic. There are appointments available for a GP through the 111 service for all out-of-hours needs. And whilst I don't agree that our A+E services should be downgraded in this way - they are there, 24 hours a day. I'm sick of the propaganda fed to the press that the "NHS is failing". This is to make people think that the only way to get some kind of decent service is to bring private contractors in. This is not true. The government have put targets in place and through funding cuts have made these targets impossible to hit, thereby setting it up to fail for their own gain. The NHS isn't failing, our government is failing the NHS. mc77
  • Score: 6
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