Hinchingbrooke under pressure as flu virus hits

HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital is faring better than its neighbours as the winter flu outbreak rages but beds are in demand.

The hospital was on “amber” alert this week meaning a few beds are available but there is pressure on capacity as the number of emergency cases laid low by winter illnesses rocketed.

Peterborough City Hospital and Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge were last week both on “black” alert meaning both hospitals were running to full capacity and no beds were available.

Liz Pointing, director of nursing, midwifery and operations at Hinchingbrooke said: “Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust has experienced an increase in emergency admissions over the past week, many presenting with flu type symptoms.

“This has resulted in reduced bed availability and pressure on our Intensive Therapy Unit.

“We have implemented our internal escalation processors to deal with this situation and are linking with our neighbouring NHS organisations to manage patient flow during this very busy period.

“We would encourage members of the public not to visit the Trust if they have flu-like symptoms.”

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At Papworth Hospital beds are being used for Swine Flu victims suffering severe lung and heart problems, and surgeons are being diverted from cardiac surgery to help with the cases.

The hospital is one of just seven hospitals in the country equipped with extra corporeal membrance oxgenation (ECMO) which uses an artifical lung is used to oxygenate the blood outside the lungs.

Consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care, Dr Alain Vuylsteke said “We have had good experience in using ECMO to assist patients with cardiac and respiratory failure, and are pleased to be able to extend our service to those patients suffering from H1N1 and ARDS.”