Additional measures to ensure continued safe care for all our patients

Like most  hospitals across the country, our hospitals are very busy currently. We’re particularly under pressure at Charing Cross and St Mary’s hospitals where we provide accident and emergency services.

Our staff are working very hard to make sure we continue to provide safe care for our patients and to treat or admit urgent patients as quickly as possible. Our winter planning means that we have extra capacity and improved processes in place and are working more closely with our community and social care partners.

However, we are seeing more very poorly patients compared with previous years and we still don’t always have enough free beds to cope with all of the patients who need to be admitted urgently.  In line with the latest recommendations from NHS England, we have therefore taken two additional, temporary measures:

  • While time-critical operations, including cancer operations, and outpatient clinics are going ahead, we are postponing more non-urgent operations and procedures that were due to take place this month. Decisions about which planned operations should be postponed are being made by senior clinicians, with as much notice to patients as possible. If you have an appointment for an operation, procedure or outpatient clinic, you should attend as planned unless we contact you to say otherwise. We are very sorry that we have to take this action and we are already working on plans to make sure we are able to carry out the postponed operations as soon as possible once we return to our usual demand levels.
  • In exceptional circumstances, we may need to admit a male patient to a female ward or vice versa. The decision to do this would be made as a last resort, on a case-by-case basis, to ensure the safety and dignity of all of our patients. The decision would be made by senior clinicians. If you have any concerns about your care or that of a friend or relative, please speak to the ward manager or to our patient advice and liaison service (PALS).

To find out what you can do to help us continue to provide safe care for all our patients, please follow the advice in our get winter ready’ checklists and factsheets here