Swine flu: hospitals ‘gridlocked’
The NHS is in “gridlock”, with hospitals across the country being forced to declare that they have reached the highest level of emergency because of flu and other winter viruses.
By Laura Donnelly
Britain’s most senior accident and emergency doctor told The Sunday Telegraph that four weeks of intense pressures had left casualty departments “overwhelmed” with patients.
He said desperately sick people had been left for hours waiting on trolleys, with even those requiring intensive care enduring long delays.
Dozens of NHS units have cancelled surgery and clinics for outpatients. At least 10 major centres issued “black alerts” — the
highest emergency warning — meaning they were at breaking point, forcing patients to be sent elsewhere.
Scores of hospital wards closed due to norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, which put more than 1,200 beds out of use in one week as nurses attempted to isolate the disease.