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Current waiting times (average) Emergency Dept. (A&E): 222 minutes Emergency Dept. (children): 38 minutes Learn more about our waiting times

There is no place like home … here’s how you can help get a loved home from hospital for Christmas

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There is no place like home … here’s how you can help get a loved home from hospital for Christmas
22 December 2022

St. Mary's Hospital is still in Critical Incident status, facing extreme and sustained pressure on all its services following a significant rise in flu, Covid-19, and Strep A admissions.

As part of addressing this demand, we have re-introduced compulsory mask wearing in a clinical areas and all routine outpatient appointments have been postponed until at least Friday (23 December). Our teams have been contacting all impacted patients. We will continue to prioritise cancer treatment and urgent operations, but all other planned surgical activity is being postponed.

We have also added as many extra beds as we safely can, turning our Endoscopy Ward into a 10-bed ward to support the Emergency Department and we have appealed to all our staff to work extra hours.

Demand for an emergency response is far outstripping the capacity available, so will only be used for life threatening conditions or injuries.

Ensuring our patients can get home quickly to their loved ones once discharged from hospital is really important for their care and outcome. It is essential to free up and prepare the bed space for our next patient who needs help.

Juliet Pearce, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied health Professionals, said:

“We know that our patients want to get home as quickly as they can and with Christmas around the corner, even more so.

“We are focusing on safely discharging as many patients as possible and we ask that families and loved ones support us with this and collect patients as soon as they are ready to be discharged.

Families and friends can also consider offering short term support and care for their loved ones at home this Christmas. This will ensure that there are beds available for our most seriously ill patients.”

There are a few things you can do to help a relative or friend to get home quickly after their stay in hospital: 

  • Our patient transport services are extremely busy, so if you can collect family and friends from hospital as soon as they are ready to be discharged, this will help to free up beds for those who need them.
  • On admission, give the nursing staff contact details of any services which your loved one will need to have rearranged before discharge, for example, carers.
  • Make sure they have their medication and dressings, if applicable, before leaving the hospital.
  • Ask about outpatient appointments if relevant, making sure they know where they need to go, for example, a hospital or GP surgery. They will also need to know if they need to make the appointment.
  • Ask for a copy of their discharge letter.
  • Take clothes and shoes to the hospital.
  • Support friends, family and neighbours with keeping warm, shopping and collecting prescriptions if needed.

We are working closely with our partners across Hampshire who are also taking all critical incident actions to provide support and capacity in all services.

Think about the most appropriate NHS service for your needs and to only call 999 in the event of a life-threatening illness or injury. Visit NHS 111 online or call NHS 111 for heath advice, or alternatively contact your local pharmacist or GP.

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