Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent hospital: Major incident status dropped

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Media captionA major incident was declared at the Royal Stoke University Hospital on Monday

A Staffordshire hospital has dropped its major incident status.

The University Hospitals of North Midlands Trust (UHNM), which runs The Royal Stoke University Hospital, had raised its incident level on Monday due to "unprecedented" demand.

It declared it had "de-escalated" the incident on Thursday.

However, the trust advised patients with minor injuries to use "appropriate alternatives" while the health system stabilised.

It blamed a national increase in demand for hospital beds on a higher-than-expected number of elderly and vulnerable patients suffering from influenza and norovirus.

At the height of the major incident, paramedics told the BBC the Royal Stoke's A&E department had temporarily closed its doors, although the trust could not confirm this.

But the trust, which also runs the former Stafford Hospital, was forced to cancel some operations due to the increased pressure on services.

Stuart Poyner, chief executive of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, apologised to patients who had appointments postponed.

"The decision to suspend some of our services was not taken lightly," he said.

Last week, UHNM recorded the worst A&E figures in England, with just 61.3% of patients seen within four hours, compared with a national target of 95%.

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