This feels like an understatement when I think of the huge and ever-increasing volumes of people that have attended for care, support and treatment. It’s been a very challenging time indeed.
Of course, this is nothing new. ED, or A&E as you might better know it, is one of the busiest areas of any hospital setting and Blackpool is no different.
Between our vast communities across the whole of the Fylde Coast and Wyre and the millions of people who visit us on holiday or day trips every year – we have plenty of people through the door needing help with accidents and emergencies.
And it’s important to say, that’s what we’re here for and it hasn’t changed. If you have a life-threatening injury or symptoms such chest pain, stroke, major trauma, or severe bleeding that won’t stop, you should attend A&E and if you need to, call an ambulance immediately.
I want to mention the amazing people who are there to help you.
The A&E team work tirelessly and relentlessly every minute of every hour of every week of every month. Year in, year out. All clinical and non-clinical staff – people working away that you likely never see or notice – all contribute to this incredible place.
I am always beyond proud to support the team and all the amazing things they do there – as I am of the Trust as a whole.
At the peak of demand over the last week we had 83 people waiting for treatment within ED. To clarify, that is a very big number and our waiting times to be seen nudged four hours at times. When you consider we aim to see people within four hours – and much sooner if possible – it’s easy to understand how challenging and stressful this scenario is for everyone involved.
Waiting for long periods of time is not what we want people to experience or expect. In addition, staff working long, relentless shifts when they are still exhausted from the pandemic is not to be underestimated and the impact on them is significant, especially over a period of weeks and months.
It is a credit to them that they never stop and my experience is that they are always quickly moving onto the next person who needs their help.
Don’t forget also that the team regularly deal with extremely upsetting cases, looking after people with very serious illness or injury and those who sadly don’t survive.
In these times, they not only look after the patient but their families and friends too and, just as importantly, each other. As a Trust we wrap as much care and health and well-being support as we are able to around them but the job they love can regularly leave them emotionally and physically devastated.
I want to say a very genuine thank you to the team for everything they do. Their hard work, dedication and resilience is brilliant and very much appreciated and can never really be repaid.
Perhaps in return, we could ask for your help?
There are things everyone in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre can do to help alleviate the stress and strain on the department and the team. These include:
- Please, don’t turn up to A&E if you don’t need to be there
- If you’re unsure about the best place for you, try ringing NHS 111 or nhs.uk to discuss your symptoms
- Make sure you have any prescriptions you need and a good supply of basic medicine available for the Bank Holiday weekend
- Consider whether you need to go to A&E
Over the past 12 months everyone at the Trust has been very grateful for the support of the community and the gratitude demonstrated by gifts and cards, donations and claps of appreciation across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.
Please, help us now by considering colleagues and each other who really need the care and support provided for life threatening injuries and illnesses in A&E. We need and appreciate your support.
Chief Operating Officer
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust