Chesterfield Royal Hospital has given an insight into the increasing number of patients being admitted to their A&E department.
In a lengthy Facebook post, the hospital said the last week of January had "thrown everything but the kitchen sink at us".
It said the average daily attendance in its A&E department was 223 patients, with 66 of those admitted to a ward every day for care and treatment.
The post says: "On Monday night (January 29) we reached full capacity at the front doors and on our wards - and for a short space of time (around three hours) ambulances diverted away from the Royal to other hospitals. A total of 49 patients breached the four-hour waiting time standard, but believe it or not, even in the face of that unprecedented demand, the team still hit 81.15% against that target. Staff stayed at work to help to look after patients until we could get them seen, treated or admitted and once again it was a real team effort to get us back on track.
"Our ward staff have had an equally challenging time of it as they work with the operational team to work out ‘where to put people’. The concept of admitting a patient to a ward sounds a simple one, but at times like this it’s anything but. For example, at one point during last week we had nine patients who needed caring for separately, for infection control reasons, but we couldn’t move any patients out of the side rooms they were occupying (which they were in for reasons of available space, rather than clinical need) because our wards bays were already full.
"With Robinson Ward currently ‘closed’ with flu cases, juggling trauma lists for urgent surgeries, making sure cancer operations take place and Portland Ward still running with anything from 16 to 27 beds over the last few days you can probably work up a picture of what the hospital is up against. Our community partners are doing an absolutely sterling job getting people out of hospital once they’re medically fit and we’ve had very few delayed discharges – all of which is a massive contribution to flow and makes sure we have beds available for one of those 66 really poorly patients who are coming in every day.
"Sometimes it’s difficult to explain to patients and their families that they are ready to leave our hospital, but (if they’re not going straight home) that they won’t necessarily be going to the community hospital, nursing or residential home of ‘first-choice’. We know how hard it can be when people need to move further afield to continue their care, but we hope that messages like this help people to understand why, when they are fit for discharge, we need their support to help to make sure we can keep caring for anyone new arriving with an urgent medical need."
The post went on to say that routine operations are deferred until Wednesday, February 7 so that the hospital can 'recover' and a review can take place.
The hospital added that it was grateful to all patients for understanding and thanked all staff for their commitment and effort.
The message has been shared almost 200 times and dozens of people responded to say what a great job staff are doing and thanked the hospital for its 'honesty'.