Office staff across NHS Lanarkshire have been volunteering to support hospital staff and GP practices who are working flat out dealing with an unprecedented volume of patients suffering from winter illnesses.
A&E departments at Lanarkshire’s three hospital sites at Hairmyres, Wishaw and Monklands have been inundated with patients over the festive period.
To help their colleagues cope with demand, staff who are normally office based have volunteered to be re-deployed at hospitals and GP practices in supporting roles including administrative work and cleaning duties over the next five days.
Many staff at the board’s Kirklands HQ are also qualified and experienced clinicians and will be using their skills to help treat patients.
GP practices across Lanarkshire also return to normal today and in anticipation of the demand also expected at a community level, NHS Lanarkshire staff will also be lending a hand to support their general medical practice colleagues.
Staff volunteering for hospital work will be under the supervision on the clinical and managerial teams at the three hospitals and GP practices across Lanarkshire.
NHS Lanarkshire chief executive Calum Campbell says it’s all hands to the pump to ensure that patients get the treatment they need. “This is an unparalleled situation in Lanarkshire and exceptional circumstances need exceptional measures to enable us to deliver our number one healthcare priority – patient safety.
“We asked our office-based staff to consider volunteering to suspend their ‘day-job’ to support their clinical colleagues, bearing in mind our key purpose and commitment as an organisation to care for people who need our help. Not surprisingly, we’ve had a tremendous response which demonstrates the strong team spirit that exists within the NHS.”
Dr Iain Wallace, medical director at NHS Lanarkshire, added: “All of NHS Lanarkshire’s hospitals are extremely busy following the Christmas and New Year period so we ask that people do not attend A&E unless they require urgent and immediately necessary treatment.
“In addition, anyone who has had flu symptoms or diarrhoea or vomiting in the past 48 hours should not to visit patients in hospital. These illnesses could be passed on to patients who are already very sick.”
For more information on alternatives to A&E visit the NHS Lanarkshire website http://www.nhslanarkshire.org.uk/Services/Know-Who-To-Turn-To/Pages/default.aspx/ or www.nhsinform.scot
Other measures are also being taken to cope with the unusually high demand at A&E. Elective activity was due to resume at hospitals today (Wednesday 3 January) following the public holidays. However, due to the increased pressures on our services at this period, all non-urgent elective activity will be postponed for the remainder of this week. All affected patients have been, or are in the process of being informed.