'Critical incident' declared by hospital as surgery and appointments cancelled

Planned operations and outpatient appointments have been cancelled at a hospital facing record patient demand.

East Surrey Hospital in Redhill has declared a ‘critical incident’ as staff deal with an unprecedented number of patients.

A hospital spokesperson confirmed the problem is not related to the fuel crisis or any significant increase in Covid cases in the area.

On Tuesday, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH), which runs the hospital, issued a plea for people to ‘think’ before going to its accident and emergency department.

It said: ‘SASH is really busy at the moment. We are urging you to think before going to A&E.

‘Minor injuries units can treat most urgent but not life-threatening injuries.

‘If you are unsure where to go please call 111 who can point you in the right direction. Help us care for those who need it.’

It comes a month after a hospital in Devon was forced to declare an ‘internal critical incident’ after being inundated with coronavirus patients.

SASH Chief Executive Michael Wilson said he hopes pressure will ease quickly and appointments can return to normal.

A warning on the trust’s website read: ‘We are currently dealing with increasing demand as we continue to deliver the safest care to our patients.

‘We understand that this is of great concern to you and supporting you during this time remains our priority.

‘If you have any concerns with regards to a planned procedure or appointment and have already made contact with us, your details will be passed on to a member of our dedicated team who will be in touch in response to your query.

‘Any patients affected will be contacted directly – if you do not hear from us please attend your appointment as usual.’

Anyone who is not contacted by the hospital should attend their appointment as normal.

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