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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Covid/System Pressures

Monday 10 January 2022

All NHS services are currently under severe pressure. Clear and transparent communication is required to inform the public of the challenges that the NHS is facing and the likely impact on care giving, as well as the processes in place to ensure safety while prioritising those most in need.


Additional focus on discharge – messages for staff

You'll be aware that all areas of the NHS and care system across Cheshire and Merseyside remain under relentless and sustained pressure - not just from the admission of new Covid-19 patients but from the impact that the Omicron variant spreading through our communities has on our services.  

This has an additional effect of unprecedented staff absences in our hospitals and community services and in the care sector. 

We all recognise the enormous amount of hard work being undertaken by staff across organisations, on top of the huge amount of work being undertaken as part of the Covid recovery work.  

If we are to maintain urgent and emergency services for those who need them, we need to take additional actions now to make sure we have staff and resources in the right places.   

As you are aware, our hospitals are under sustained and extremely high levels of pressure. Hospital admissions across the region have shot up by xx% in the past week and are in excess of the predictions we have been looking at for this wave of the Covid virus. 

There are high levels of attendances at Emergency Departments, higher levels of patients with Covid-19 requiring admission and difficulties in discharging patients no longer requiring hospital care. 

Our teams across the area, in community, hospitals and primary care, have been outstanding in the way they have worked to treat our local patients. 

However given the pressures we are currently facing, we do need to ask a little bit more next week as part of a focussed campaign to maximise discharge, and therefore free up beds for those who are the most seriously ill in our communities. 

We are therefore focussing our attention on those patients who can safely leave hospital care –patients who do not meet the criteria to reside.  

This effort will free up beds for those who need hospital care – those who are most ill in our communities. 

NHS England’s Emergency Care Improvement Support Team have put a package of help and support together and we are using this support to help us next week. 

We know how hard you are all working at the moment, but this is the time that our communities need us most and therefore, unless you are working on direct patient care, we need to ask you to help in whatever way you can. 

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The NHS in the Cheshire and Merseyside is urging anyone who has yet to have their third dose booster of the Covid vaccine to book their appointment, as admissions to hospital soar.

The majority of people being admitted have either not had their booster or have not had the full course of the vaccine

The evidence is clear. Not getting vaccinated against Covid puts you at greater risk of serious illness and death.

Getting your third dose of the vaccine really is the best protection against serious illness.  You can find information on your nearest vaccine clinic by calling 119, accessing the national booking service online or looking on your local council website.

There are also a number of sites open where people can walk-in and grab-a-jab without an appointment. 

The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly and there has been a sharp rise in the number of people requiring hospital beds.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your friends.

It also means that you are much less likely to end up in a hospital bed that could otherwise be used to treat someone else.

High rates of infection have also caused a high staff absence rate in several essential services.

Help keep essential services running this winter, by making sure you get your Covid booster when eligible - to protect yourself and others.

Covid rates in Cheshire and Merseyside [or local area] are amongst the highest in the country so get your booster now to protect yourself and others.

High infection rates of Omicron mean it’s more important than ever to get your Covid booster.

You can get a booster dose if you had your second dose of the vaccine at least 3 months ago.

Book your booster appointment as soon as possible using the online National Booking Service or by calling 119; or you can visit one of the walk-in vaccination centres in your local area. Find your nearest walk-in site <insert national grab a jab site finder or link to local CCG or Council web page>


Can’t attend your Covid-19 vaccination appointment? Please cancel so we can open your slot to somebody else. If needed, you can then book for a later date.

Remember: people over 18 can get their vaccine (first, second or booster) 28 days after a Covid-19 infection.

Even though the Omicron strain of Covid appears to be milder, it’s still vital to get your booster. Hospitals and other essential services are under severe pressure and people who are vaccinated are 88% more protected against serious illness.

You still need your booster vaccine, even if you have recently had Covid-19. The vaccine generally provokes a stronger immune response than the illness because it is a targeted exposure designed to maximise immunity.

It’s essential we continue to follow the national guidance - washing our hands regularly, wearing a face covering when required, keeping their distance from people outside their own household and restricting our social interactions outside our homes.

These simple actions will help stop the spread of the virus in our communities and reduce the number of people with Covid-19 requiring hospital care, which helps us maintain as many services as possible.



Hospitals in Cheshire and Merseyside are running extremely high levels of bed occupancy and are seeing a huge rise in demand for their services.

Attendances at A&E departments are rising; there are ongoing challenges in discharging patients who are well enough to leave hospital, and we are seeing a significant increase in staff sickness - all of which leads to longer waits than we would like for patients to be seen and admitted. 

Unfortunately, this does mean that our hospitals may need to postpone some non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments to accommodate those patients with the most urgent clinical need.

Cancer and other urgent operations and appointments will continue to be prioritised and those patients whose appointments need to be postponed will be contacted.

We appreciate that this may be distressing for those patients whose appointments need to be postponed - especially given the ongoing delays due to the pandemic. However, patient safety must take priority and we need to take action to make sure that those who are more clinically urgent get the help they need as quickly as possible.

Our staff continue to work exceptionally hard; and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that in spite of the challenges faced and some changes to non-urgent appointments, essential services remain open for anyone who needs them. If you require urgent medical help, please continue to come forward.

The public can help us manage these periods of demand by ensuring they are seeking help from the most appropriate health services, and only attending A&E if seriously ill or injured. If you are unwell, visit NHS 111 online for 24/7 advice about the most appropriate care for your needs.

We have significant staffing pressures due to Covid. People can help us to help them by getting their Covid booster vaccine to protect themselves and their families and reduce pressure on health services.


Primary Care

GPs are continuing to prioritise urgent patients, whilst supporting the roll out of the Covid-19 booster vaccination programme.

If you have an appointment for an assessment or diagnostic procedure, or other treatment, it’s important that you attend. 

Every precaution possible is being taken to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, with practices following strict Infection Prevention and Control procedures.

It is important to contact NHS111 in the first instance, if you have an urgent health need, so you can be advised on the most appropriate service.