Patients across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are being asked not to use A&E unless it’s a genuine emergency, following a fire at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre, next to the BRI, which is affecting NHS services throughout the local health system.
A system-wide major incident has been declared following the overnight fire in the Centre, which led to 53 patients being evacuated to other parts of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust (UH Bristol).
Although all patients were safely evacuated following the fire, adult services at UH Bristol remain severely disrupted and the adult Emergency Department at the BRI is now only treating patients with minor injuries and walk-in conditions.
The Bristol Eye Hospital and Children’s Hospital Emergency Department remain unaffected but all other patients requiring in-patient admission are being diverted to other Emergency Departments across the South West.
Chair of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, Dr Jonathan Hayes, said: “We’re extremely grateful to local NHS staff who have responded magnificently to this major incident and ensured that patients continue to receive safe and effective care.
“Although the local health system is coping well following the fire, the temporary divert of emergency ambulances from the BRI is putting increased pressure on services across the wider area.
“For this reason we’re asking people to do their bit by making sure that they use A&E for genuine emergencies only, and to consider alternatives such as NHS111 and local minor injuries units for non-emergency conditions.”
Additional measures have been put in place to increase capacity across the local health system following the incident.
These include local minor injuries units, which have extended their opening hours to accommodate potential increased demand. The Minor Injuries Unit in Clevedon and the Urgent Care Centre (UCC) in South Bristol will both close at 10pm today, while the Minor Injuries Unit in Yate is also expected to close at 10pm. These extended hours are likely to continue over the weekend.
Staff at local hospital trusts and community healthcare providers have also been asked to work extra shifts and in some cases, routine, non-urgent surgery has been cancelled over the next two days to free up extra space. In cases where operations are cancelled, patients will be contacted directly by hospitals to notify them of the change.
Community providers are also working closely with local authorities to discharge hospital patients quickly in order to create bed space.
Further updates on the major incident will be posted on the CCG's website.