Hospitals prepare for busy Easter weekend



Staff at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust are working overtime to free up beds and enable people to return home in time for the Easter weekend.

Extra staff, including doctors, pharmacists and therapists, have been drafted in to help create extra bed capacity at both Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, ahead of what is expected to be a very busy Bank Holiday period.

Clinical teams are currently working to identify and discharge all of those patients who are medically fit to leave, liaising with both health and social care partners to identify and arrange suitable sources of community-based support where necessary.

The step is being taken in light of the extreme pressures experienced by both urgent care and ward-based staff this week. On Monday, the Trust reached capacity and a temporary ambulance diversion to nearby hospitals was put in place to ensure services on the Hull site remained safe. The Trust’s freedom to move patients has been further restricted in recent days by a number of ward closures and restrictions owing to outbreaks of sickness and diarrhoea.

Simon Nearney, Director of Workforce for Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust says:

“As we approach the Bank Holiday weekend, we’re doing all we can to make sure there are enough beds within our hospitals to cope with the anticipated demand. Over recent days and weeks, our hospitals have seen a high number of medical admissions, but the number of discharges we have been able to make hasn’t always been able to keep pace with this, leading to delays for beds.

“We have drafted extra staff in to enable us to identify and discharge those patients who no longer have a medical need to be in hospital and who could safely return home. Whilst they may not have a medical need, however, they may still require help with other aspects of their care, such as rehabilitation or medication, which is why we’re bringing in therapists and pharmacists to help us with this work as well as doctors and nurses. In some of those cases, extra support will be required to help people return home, and we are working with partners in both health and social care to ensure that appropriate capacity and support can be found.

“Maintaining a smooth flow of patients through our hospitals is key to ensuring our services remain safe and patients can be seen and treated in a timely manner. We hope that the work we have been doing today will stand us in good stead for the Bank Holiday weekend, when we often see an increase in attendances, and we would like to thank all of those staff who have been flexible in helping to support this work. The dedication of our staff to keeping patients safe and well cared for throughout the busy winter period has been nothing short of amazing.”

Members of the public are being urged to use alternatives to the Emergency Department wherever possible to ensure hospital staff can focus their efforts on the most critically ill patients in their care. Alternatives which will be available over the Easter weekend and beyond include minor injury units, pharmacies, and walk-in centres. Healthcare alternatives near to Hull Royal Infirmary include Bransholme Minor Injury Unit which is open from 9am to 8pm, seven days a week, and Story Street Walk-in Centre,  within Wilberforce Health Centre in Hull city centre, which is open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year.

Healthcare advice and a list of all local services is available online at or by calling NHS 111, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

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