Leaked memos from senior hospital management show the scale of the Southmead NHS crisis.
The situation at Southmead hospital is replicated across other South West NHS trusts currently on Black Alert.
Black alert means a hospital has run out of space or staff and is taking extraordinary measures. This can include diverting emergency patients to other hospitals.
South West NHS trusts declaring Black Alert this winter include:
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals
- Royal United Hospitals Bath
- Taunton and Somerset
- Torbay and South Devon
- University Hospitals Bristol
- Weston Area
- Yeovil District
A UNISON member at Southmead said:
“The situation is absolutely terrible. There’s simply not enough staff, space and equipment to look after patients safely. I don’t understand why the government aren’t putting in the money to turn it around.
“Four bed wards have had a fifth bed crammed in without appropriate facilities or privacy. Patients are being kept in procedures rooms which are not designed for accommodating them. The hospital is even running short of zimmer frames meaning frail patients can’t get about safely.
“Sickness rates are sky high and vacancies can’t be filled. The NHS is the greatest accomplishment of this country but the government are running it into the ground.”