Hospital trust pledges to learn from ‘critical incidents’ caused by Covid and heatwave

King's Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield..
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

Managers at a Nottinghamshire hospital trust say they coped well with recent hot weather and steep rises in Covid cases.

And they say lessons they learned will help them prepare for future major emergencies.

This week a countywide ‘critical incident’ across NHS services – called on July 27 to deal with unprecedented pressures caused by a spike in Covid numbers – was stood down.

Last month, a separate incident was called in response to a heatwave as parts of Nottinghamshire saw temperatures surpass 40C on July 18 and July 19.

Papers published by Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust – which includes King’s Mill, at Sutton-in-Ashfield – revealed pressures on services in 2022 have been greater than those usually experienced at the height of winter.

However, members of the trust’s board say its three hospital sites responded well to the recent ‘critical incidents’,  preventing routine services from being compromised.

Providing an update during the board of directors meeting on Thursday (August 4), the trust’s chief executive Paul Robinson said managers would learn if they needed to bring any responses in as “business-as-usual” operations.

He told the meeting: “The last month has been unprecedented in terms of operational pressures.

“The trust took part in daily meetings and exceptional actions were taken to increase our bed capacity – all of which have now been stood down and there was no impact upon our elected care programme.

“The learning and actions from that will be gathered and we will try to understand what worked and what didn’t, and what should now be considered routine business-as-usual.”

Claire Ward, chair of the board of directors, added that increased pressure was felt throughout July by increased Covid cases both within the community and within the trust’s staff.

However, she says transmission appears to be decreasing.

She said: “This has obviously been a very difficult few weeks, again, for staff in our trust – particularly because of the rising rates of Covid infection in the community and across our staff and patients in the previous month.

“We took the decision to change arrangements. We are looking at those arrangements month-by-month and keeping a watchful eye on infections.

“It’s good to see there appears to be a decrease in the community and amongst our patients, which is to be welcomed.

“But the pressures remain across the hospitals.”

Government figures show there are currently 61 patients positive for Covid-19 within SFH’s three hospital sites.

This is down from a peak of 90 in July, with one patient currently requiring ventilation.

In total, 23 patients have been admitted to the trust with Covid in the past seven days, an average of 3.3 per day.

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