ACCIDENT & Emergency departments at the Worcestershire Royal and the Alexandra Hospital were so overwhelmed over new year that minor injuries units at Bromsgrove, Pershore and Tenbury were closed and staff transferred to the two hospitals to help cope with demand.
The unprecedented decision was taken as members of the public shunned the MIUs – where waiting times are often under 10 minutes – and headed for the main A&E centres instead.
Worcestershire Royal was particularly crowded with ambulances queuing outside and left patients on trolleys in corridors.
The staff would have been needed to ensure that every patient was cared for wherever they were located, whether in the Emergency Department (ED) itself or on a trolley.
Paramedics would have cared for patients as they waited in their ambulances.
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust acknowledged that A&E at both sites had been busy over the Christmas and New Year period.
“To help reduce pressures and length of wait in A&E we pulled minor injuries unit staff in to A&E to provide extra cover and better use their skills as MIUs were experiencing very low demand,” they said.
“MIU staff being deployed into the Emergency Department shows the local NHS at its best working together and deploying staff where they can help provide the best care.
Today (Tuesday, January 3) the MIUs are now open and operational.”
The rush of patients to accident and emergency came despite the trust highlighting the standard of care and short waiting times at minor injury units, where patients can often been seen in under 10 minutes.