Hospital to close A&E over the winter23rd September 2010
A London hospital is planning to close its accident and emergency and its maternity departments over the winter amid fears over patient safety.
Bosses at Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, south London, made the decision because they are concerned that they may not be able to guarantee the safety of patients if there is a winter surge of patients because of the lack of staff.
The hospital has severe staffing problems in maternity and A&E and announced the closure plan after calling in advisers from NHS London.
There were three options available – to close the units straight away, close over coming weeks or try to struggle through the winter.
South London Healthcare Trust chief executive Chris Streather said: "What we did in the early summer was, I asked my medical director and the director of nursing to look at A&E and maternity very carefully to see if they are safe now and whether they can be kept safe for the whole of the winter period."
The conclusion was that we could not and that we could not guarantee safety over the winter is the shortage of staff, he said.
The hospital has more than 50% of middle grade doctor posts in A&E vacant and there are 42 midwifery vacancies over three sites.
The Department of Health has said that the A&E and obstetric services at Queen Mary’s should temporarily close while there were such.
A spokeswoman added: “Patient safety and high quality care must remain the priority for the NHS.”
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Title: Hospital to close A&E over the winter
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 16165
Date Added: 23rd Sep 2010