Intended for healthcare professionals

News Interview

Under pressure: meeting demand safely means knowing when to shout for help

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k204 (Published 16 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k204
  1. Rebecca Coombes, head of news and views
  1. The BMJ
  1. rcoombes{at}bmj.com

How can chiefs of NHS hospital trusts support staff in times of extreme winter pressure, and what do clinicians look for in the executive top team? In search of answers Rebecca Coombes talked to trust chief executive Joe Harrison and consultant Matthew Inada-Kim

At Milton Keynes University Hospital conditions are “slightly” improved after a Christmas surge. “We had a very challenging time between Christmas and New Year, historically a quiet time, with significant numbers of very elderly and sick patients requiring admission,” said Joe Harrison, the trust’s chief executive.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust saw a similar increase in demand from an ageing population, though there the pressure remains high. “People are sick and old, they’re on intravenous treatment, they’re on oxygen, they’re frail with huge numbers of comorbidities,” said Matthew Inada-Kim, a consultant in acute and general medicine at the trust.

Inada-Kim describes the risks clinicians take when working with patient capacity at 95% to 110%. “Your error rate creeps up. The complexity and the level of acuity has really rocketed since I started out, so I’d say the demands of doing a 13 hour shift nowadays …

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