Dorset County Hospital's A&E innundated with double number of patients built for

OVER-STRETCHED: The hospital’s A&E department

CONCERNS: Michel Hooper-Immins

First published in News
Last updated
Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

DORSET County Hospital’s emergency department is currently being inundated with more than double the number of patients the facility was originally built for.

Hospital governors have been told that plans are being worked on for an extension to the department to cope with the growing demand.

The situation in the emergency department was raised at a meeting of the hospital’s council of governors by Michel Hooper-Immins.

The public governor said he had been in the department in the early hours and seen patients left in corridors on trolleys due to how busy it was.

He said: “Can’t we treat patients a lot better than we have done?

“I do think we are failing patients in this way.”

One patient who recently attended the emergency department on a Saturday night said: “It was really hectic although I couldn’t fault the staff.

“There were quite a few young people who look as if their problems were self-inflicted.

“It certainly seems that they were struggling to cope with the numbers and it was a bit chaotic.”

“I had a relatively minor injury so I was happy to wait while more important issues were dealt with but it could certainly do with being expanded.”

The hospital’s director of operations Patricia Miller said the hospital was looking at an extension of the emergency department and a business case was due to be presented to the finance committee shortly.

She said that the unit had been built to treat 22,000 patients a year but was currently seeing 45,000.

However, Mrs Miller assured governors that all urgent patients would still be treated and if there was no room for them they will be assessed elsewhere.

Trust chairman Jeffrey Ellwood added that, while patients sometimes did have to face a wait, it was only because the unit had to prioritise those patients whose condition was deemed life-threatening.

He said: “Some people who are not as seriously ill as others may have to wait for someone whose life is in danger.” Mr Ellwood added that the hospital was prepared to do whatever it takes to address the increase in demand for the emergency department.

He said: “We are acutely aware of the situation and we are prepared to spend money trying to make it better.”

Some governors also spoke up for the current state of care in the emergency department.

Derek Julian and Andy Hutchings both spent time observing the ward recently and said they were impressed with what they saw.

Mr Julian said: “We came away so impressed by just sitting there and watching what the staff are doing and talking to the patients.

“I wouldn’t hear a word said against them.”

Mr Hutchings added: “It was first class there and the patients were being well looked after.”

The extension would see the number of cubicles in the emergency department increase from eight to 12.

Mrs Miller added that to get the build done quickly, the whole department could be temporarily relocated while the extension work is carried out.

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:41am Fri 20 Jun 14

jjlad2 says...

No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again
No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again jjlad2
  • Score: 17

9:33am Fri 20 Jun 14

NearlyLocal says...

jjlad2 wrote:
No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again
But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.
[quote][p][bold]jjlad2[/bold] wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again[/p][/quote]But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later. NearlyLocal
  • Score: 3

10:45am Fri 20 Jun 14

shy talk says...

I wonder what percentage of these “patients” really need to go to A&E. And not wait to see their local GP or go to a pharmacy. However the pharmacy might cost you money where as A&E is free. I think a lot of people might well think twice if they had to pay for treatment. Thankfully that is not the ethos of the National Heath System.
I wonder what percentage of these “patients” really need to go to A&E. And not wait to see their local GP or go to a pharmacy. However the pharmacy might cost you money where as A&E is free. I think a lot of people might well think twice if they had to pay for treatment. Thankfully that is not the ethos of the National Heath System. shy talk
  • Score: 16

10:54am Fri 20 Jun 14

jjlad2 says...

NearlyLocal wrote:
jjlad2 wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again
But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.
Sorry, why cant you have to A&Es 10m apart? investment would have brought it up to standard, heck, they are still thier using the Building for walk ins, i'm not saying that the majority of patients have to travel to Dorch are life and death, but those that are, 10m can be a long way, also, it seems that DCH can no longer cope with influx, agreed it gets busy during Hol period, but all round, it makes sense to me for Weymouth to have its own Hospital, the town is big enough!
[quote][p][bold]NearlyLocal[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jjlad2[/bold] wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again[/p][/quote]But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.[/p][/quote]Sorry, why cant you have to A&Es 10m apart? investment would have brought it up to standard, heck, they are still thier using the Building for walk ins, i'm not saying that the majority of patients have to travel to Dorch are life and death, but those that are, 10m can be a long way, also, it seems that DCH can no longer cope with influx, agreed it gets busy during Hol period, but all round, it makes sense to me for Weymouth to have its own Hospital, the town is big enough! jjlad2
  • Score: 16

11:05am Fri 20 Jun 14

cosmick says...

They are talking about adding another 4 cubicles seems a bit short sighted why not add 20 and save doing the job again in a few years. To many people in this country for these service to cope country wide.
They are talking about adding another 4 cubicles seems a bit short sighted why not add 20 and save doing the job again in a few years. To many people in this country for these service to cope country wide. cosmick
  • Score: 12

12:04pm Fri 20 Jun 14

JamesYoung says...

jjlad2 wrote:
NearlyLocal wrote:
jjlad2 wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again
But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.
Sorry, why cant you have to A&Es 10m apart? investment would have brought it up to standard, heck, they are still thier using the Building for walk ins, i'm not saying that the majority of patients have to travel to Dorch are life and death, but those that are, 10m can be a long way, also, it seems that DCH can no longer cope with influx, agreed it gets busy during Hol period, but all round, it makes sense to me for Weymouth to have its own Hospital, the town is big enough!
Two lots of consultants, two lots of nurses, two lots of admissions staff, two lots of computer systems, two lots of expensive equipment....
Sure you can have it, but the cost of doubling the size of an A&E unit in one hospital would always be less than the cost of running two separate departments in two separate hospitals.
[quote][p][bold]jjlad2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]NearlyLocal[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jjlad2[/bold] wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again[/p][/quote]But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.[/p][/quote]Sorry, why cant you have to A&Es 10m apart? investment would have brought it up to standard, heck, they are still thier using the Building for walk ins, i'm not saying that the majority of patients have to travel to Dorch are life and death, but those that are, 10m can be a long way, also, it seems that DCH can no longer cope with influx, agreed it gets busy during Hol period, but all round, it makes sense to me for Weymouth to have its own Hospital, the town is big enough![/p][/quote]Two lots of consultants, two lots of nurses, two lots of admissions staff, two lots of computer systems, two lots of expensive equipment.... Sure you can have it, but the cost of doubling the size of an A&E unit in one hospital would always be less than the cost of running two separate departments in two separate hospitals. JamesYoung
  • Score: 3

12:13pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Caption Sensible says...

jjlad2 wrote:
NearlyLocal wrote:
jjlad2 wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again
But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.
Sorry, why cant you have to A&Es 10m apart? investment would have brought it up to standard, heck, they are still thier using the Building for walk ins, i'm not saying that the majority of patients have to travel to Dorch are life and death, but those that are, 10m can be a long way, also, it seems that DCH can no longer cope with influx, agreed it gets busy during Hol period, but all round, it makes sense to me for Weymouth to have its own Hospital, the town is big enough!
Over 20,000 people agreed with you at the time of the closure of Weymouth & District (including me) and signed the petition.

In an ideal world Dorset County Hospital should offer medical services to the Dorchester and rural area, Weymouth & District should serve the greater Weymouth area.
[quote][p][bold]jjlad2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]NearlyLocal[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]jjlad2[/bold] wrote: No brainer was it, fancy closing Weymouth and Riskit, it is just as important and big as well as Dorchester, the powers that be seem to have got it wrong again[/p][/quote]But you couldn't run two A and E departments 10 miles apart so it had to close. The facility at Weymouth wasn't big enough or suitable enough when it closed let alone now, 15 years later.[/p][/quote]Sorry, why cant you have to A&Es 10m apart? investment would have brought it up to standard, heck, they are still thier using the Building for walk ins, i'm not saying that the majority of patients have to travel to Dorch are life and death, but those that are, 10m can be a long way, also, it seems that DCH can no longer cope with influx, agreed it gets busy during Hol period, but all round, it makes sense to me for Weymouth to have its own Hospital, the town is big enough![/p][/quote]Over 20,000 people agreed with you at the time of the closure of Weymouth & District (including me) and signed the petition. In an ideal world Dorset County Hospital should offer medical services to the Dorchester and rural area, Weymouth & District should serve the greater Weymouth area. Caption Sensible
  • Score: 14

1:02pm Fri 20 Jun 14

February1948 says...

Perhaps the problem lies with the rapid expansion of Dorchester, taking in Poundbury which covers a huge area so far, to say nothing of its futuredevelopment, together with other smaller developments which are springing up all over the area. There is a minor injuries unit in Weymouth that local people can use when they can't get a doctor's appointment, which is also exacerbating the situation, also small units in Bridport and Swanage (but please let me know if I'm wrong on this). Four more cubicles won't make any difference. Why not convert one of the empty factory buildings on Poundbury for use at weekends to accommodate those taken to A & E, not with serious injuries but to sleep it off as a result of drinking too much? I'm sure the police would help!
Perhaps the problem lies with the rapid expansion of Dorchester, taking in Poundbury which covers a huge area so far, to say nothing of its futuredevelopment, together with other smaller developments which are springing up all over the area. There is a minor injuries unit in Weymouth that local people can use when they can't get a doctor's appointment, which is also exacerbating the situation, also small units in Bridport and Swanage (but please let me know if I'm wrong on this). Four more cubicles won't make any difference. Why not convert one of the empty factory buildings on Poundbury for use at weekends to accommodate those taken to A & E, not with serious injuries but to sleep it off as a result of drinking too much? I'm sure the police would help! February1948
  • Score: 9

1:32pm Fri 20 Jun 14

The Fish says...

shy talk wrote:
I wonder what percentage of these “patients” really need to go to A&E. And not wait to see their local GP or go to a pharmacy. However the pharmacy might cost you money where as A&E is free. I think a lot of people might well think twice if they had to pay for treatment. Thankfully that is not the ethos of the National Heath System.
A&E is not free, the immediate care and medication may be, but if you require supporting medicine (pain-killers etc) then this has to be paid for (at the normal prescription rates).
[quote][p][bold]shy talk[/bold] wrote: I wonder what percentage of these “patients” really need to go to A&E. And not wait to see their local GP or go to a pharmacy. However the pharmacy might cost you money where as A&E is free. I think a lot of people might well think twice if they had to pay for treatment. Thankfully that is not the ethos of the National Heath System.[/p][/quote]A&E is not free, the immediate care and medication may be, but if you require supporting medicine (pain-killers etc) then this has to be paid for (at the normal prescription rates). The Fish
  • Score: 4

8:03pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Rodwellocal says...

Perhaps the hospital administrators could release the demographic breakdown of where the patients are coming from. so if, perhaps, 40% are from Weymouth & Portland, there should be serious consideration to upgrading the facilities at Weymouth.
Perhaps the hospital administrators could release the demographic breakdown of where the patients are coming from. so if, perhaps, 40% are from Weymouth & Portland, there should be serious consideration to upgrading the facilities at Weymouth. Rodwellocal
  • Score: 9

11:22am Sat 21 Jun 14

JACKC says...

It's pointless increasing the size of A&E if the rest of the hospital cannot cope (and it can't a lot of the time) with the number of patients that subsequently need to be admitted. It just put more pressure on the receiving ward's staff (very often understaffed) and then patient care is compromised, despite the best efforts of staff run ragged. The powers that be are always spouting on about patient care being paramount, but do not resource it, or care about the lack of staffing, or affect a shortage of staffing has on the ones left to cope. They go home at 5pm. Number crunching bears no reality to what's happening in A&E or the rest of the hospital.
It's pointless increasing the size of A&E if the rest of the hospital cannot cope (and it can't a lot of the time) with the number of patients that subsequently need to be admitted. It just put more pressure on the receiving ward's staff (very often understaffed) and then patient care is compromised, despite the best efforts of staff run ragged. The powers that be are always spouting on about patient care being paramount, but do not resource it, or care about the lack of staffing, or affect a shortage of staffing has on the ones left to cope. They go home at 5pm. Number crunching bears no reality to what's happening in A&E or the rest of the hospital. JACKC
  • Score: 8

3:47pm Sat 21 Jun 14

weymouthfox says...

Downgrading Weymouth hospital can now clearly seen to have been a big mistake. I signed the petition but no-one took any notice and Weymouth was ignored. I wonder how long it will be before DCH A&E is closed and we all have to go to Bournemouth?
Downgrading Weymouth hospital can now clearly seen to have been a big mistake. I signed the petition but no-one took any notice and Weymouth was ignored. I wonder how long it will be before DCH A&E is closed and we all have to go to Bournemouth? weymouthfox
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree