Ninewells worker tells Tele of ‘chaos’ after ward closures

NHS Tayside has defended its winter plans despite claims of mayhem in Ninewells over the festive period.

Over the last few weeks, the health board has been experiencing strong demand due to an increase in the number of patients being admitted to hospitals with respiratory conditions and flu-like illnesses.

Two wards in Ninewells and one in Stracathro Hospital were closed to new admissions.

A hospital worker at Ninewells told the Tele that there were chaotic scenes following the closures.

The worker claimed: “There was mayhem due to the closures with patients in the corridors and nurses saying they couldn’t find the patients they were looking for.

“Ward closures should not lead to this level of chaos in the hospital.”

But NHS Tayside chief operating officer Lorna Wiggin defended its winter operation, saying: “NHS Tayside, like other boards across Scotland, has been experiencing exceptional demand on our system due to an increase in the number of patients being admitted into our hospitals with respiratory conditions and flu-like illnesses.

“Our detailed winter plans are working well and aim to make the best use of all available resources to provide safe, effective and person-centred care for all of our patients.

“As a precautionary measure, we routinely close wards to new admissions when the winter vomiting bug or respiratory illnesses flare up in any area. This is to ensure we can prevent the spread of the virus.

“In the past few weeks, two wards in Ninewells Hospital and one ward in Stracathro Hospital were temporarily closed to new admissions due to flu-like illness and these wards have now reopened.

“We closely monitor our admissions and the number of beds available on a daily basis.

“This increase in demand for our services is something that we experience from time to time and we anticipate an increase in unscheduled admissions. Our bed plan reflects this and helps us cope with the seasonal demand.”

Theresa Fyffe, Royal College of Nusring Scotland director, said: “Nurses and other staff are working incredibly hard with great passion and skill to provide quality patient care over the festive period.

“Outbreaks of flu, respiratory illnesses and more slips and trips due to winter weather can lead to additional pressure on hospitals.

“Moving forward, there needs to be strategic long-term planning that safeguards the public by guaranteeing they’re cared for by the right staff, in the right place, at the right time, and allows for peaks in demand that can happen during winter.

“Planning for safe and effective care needs to happen on the frontline and in real time.”

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