You will be aware of the ongoing media coverage regarding the current pressure being experienced across the NHS this winter. I thought it might be helpful to provide you with a local update and to give an overview of the actions we are taking to ensure the residents of Buckinghamshire continue to receive safe and compassionate care.
We have been planning with our partners for some time to prepare for the impact of the winter months on our services and we have already implemented a number of measures to improve patient flow. This has included investment to expand the space available within A&E to create additional assessment and treatment cubicles, purchasing additional care home and domiciliary care packages, introducing additional staff in the A&E department with access to GPs on site and working closely with primary care, social services and our own community staff to support patients to return home as soon as it is safe to do so.
There have been periods where the demand has placed considerable pressure on our services, this has resulted in patients waiting longer than we would have liked and required reductions in planned activity and the opening of additional bed-based areas on our acute sites. We are monitoring the situation on a day-by-day basis. Any cancellations of non-urgent operations or outpatient clinics have been kept to a minimum and are being rearranged as a priority; in our preparations for this period we had scheduled planned activity in a way to minimise the need to postpone appointments.
I will continue to keep you updated on the situation. In the meantime I would like to thank you for your continued support as our staff work tirelessly to look after the residents of Buckinghamshire this winter.
Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust