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Tuesday 20 December 2022

Critical incident declared at UHS

A critical incident has been declared by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust today due to extreme demand across our hospitals.

We are currently seeing unprecedented numbers of people coming to our Emergency Department seeking care as well as high numbers of patients being admitted with flu and other winter illnesses.

The Trust is working closely with its partners across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who are also taking all critical incident actions to provide capacity in all services.

Dr Trevor Smith, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at UHS, said: "We have been forced to take the decision to declare a critical incident as we are facing significant and sustained pressure from the front door to the back of our hospitals. Our priority is having the capacity and ability to provide care to those who most urgently need it.”

A critical incident is any localised incident where the level of disruption results in the organisation temporarily or permanently losing its ability to deliver critical services, patients may have been harmed or the environment is not safe requiring special measures and support from other agencies, to restore normal operating functions.

Dr Smith continued: “We need the local community to help us by helping patients get home as soon as possible and only using the Emergency Department for life threatening conditions and injuries.

“Our immediate priority is to ensure there are beds available for our most seriously ill patients and we are focussed on safely discharging as many patients as possible. We ask that families and loved ones support us with this and collect patients as soon as they are ready to go home.

“We also urge you to not attend the ED unless it’s an emergency and make use of other services in the community such as pharmacists, GPs and urgent treatment centres who may be able to help you quicker. For symptoms and advice if you have a child unwell at home, visit the Healthier Together website at or download the app. If you need to know where to get help and support please go to NHS 111 online."

The Trust will be reviewing the situation regularly and thanks the community for its support during this difficult and busy time.