Union calls for cash boost amid '˜unprecedented' demand at Horton and JR

Union bosses have called for more cash to end the crisis at the trust running the Horton General and JR hospitals.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th November 2017, 9:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 5:58 am
Ambulances outside the busy Horton A&E department
Ambulances outside the busy Horton A&E department

Oxfordshire Unison’s health branch has asked Chancellor Phillip Hammond and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to provide ‘immediate financial relief’.

The demand came as Oxford University Hospitals Trust (OUHT) postponed planned operations because of unprecedented pressure on A&Es and inpatient wards in Banbury and Oxford.

Unison’s Ian Mckendrick said: “The crisis has arisen because there are too few staff and beds to cope with demand due to cuts and depressed wages. Last year the Red Cross branded overcrowding in A&E departments a ‘humanitarian crisis’. With this year’s winter surge approaching the situation will be worse unless staff are recruited and beds opened immediately.

The Horton A&E has experienced unprecedented pressure

“Patient’s lives are being put at risk due to lack of resources. Telling people to stay away from A&E is no answer and will put some people at risk by delaying treatment for urgent conditions.”

Mr McKendrick said opening beds and recruiting staff to meet demand will cost money.

“That is why we are calling on the Chancellor and Health Secretary to abandon the planned cuts of £20 billion pounds - under the guise of Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) which will worsen the crisis for this and following years - and immediately increase NHS funding.

“Mental health services are also subject to STP cuts and staffing shortages and are at risk of breaking under the strain of increasing demand.”

The Horton A&E has experienced unprecedented pressure

OUHT spokesman Susan Brown said: “Last week we had to postpone a small number of planned, non-urgent operations on Monday due to unprecedented demand on our emergency departments.

“Postponing operations is something we only do as a last resort... Our priority is to ensure we provide safe, high quality care in our hospitals – and at times of unprecedented demand on emergency and urgent care, we need to prioritise our sickest patients.”

OUHT’s Paul Brennan said: “Over the last few weeks we have experienced a 10 per cent increase in demand at our emergency departments compared to this time last year.” He asked patients to use A&E only if in need of emergency treatment.