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Rise in emergency patients being taken to Leicester's hospitals


Extra nurses have been taken on and managers are working into the early hours of the morning to cope with the number of emergency patients coming into Leicester's hospitals.

More than 20 operations have had to be cancelled at short notice over the past few weeks.

Health bosses are urging people to stay away unless there is a real emergency.

Phil Walmsley, head of operations, said the rise could be down to a number of different factors, but that the long, cold winter had seen an increase in elderly patients who need to stay in hospital longer.

"It is not so much the numbers but it is the degree of illness with which patients are coming which has created the extra demand," he said.

"Where we would expect patients to have a hospital stay of about 5.7 days, this has gone up to 6.8 days, which does have a knock-on effect on other services.

"There is no one particular reason but it has been a much longer, colder and harder winter than usual and we are seeing more frail and elderly patients who are having to stay in hospital longer.

"Unfortunately, we have had to cancel about 20 operations in the past few weeks. We hate doing this but it has mainly been because of a lack of beds.

"We have tried to cancel the less critical operations but there have been some patients, for example waiting for cancer operations, who we have had to cancel.

"They have become our absolute priority to re-arrange."

Mr Walmsley said 92 extra nurses had been recruited and the intermediate care service – where patients are found beds in community hospitals or sent home with extra support – had been expanded.

He said doctors were struggling to meet the target of seeing and treating patients in the infirmary's A&E department within four hours. Managers are working into the night to make sure there are enough doctors on duty to ensure patient safety.

Mr Walmsley said the hospital was still safe for patients.

"It is not just Leicester which is experiencing this high demand," he said. "Our colleagues around the country are reporting the same very high levels of activity."

From Saturday to Tuesday, there were 715 emergency admissions across the city's three hospitals. This compares to 690 during the same period last year.

Jeremy Tozer, interim director of operations at Leicester's hospitals, said: "We are making every effort to reduce waiting times and increase available beds on wards."

For more health care advice, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647 or:


Rise in emergency patients being taken to Leicester's  hospitals

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