Two hospitals in London have used children’s wards for adults patients to try and ease the current NHS crisis.
Croydon University Hospital and University Hospital Lewisham put adults on children’s wards due to lack of space, although they emphasise that children and adults are being treated separately.
This is the latest in a series of reports of widespread crisis in hospitals, with the British Red Cross calling it a ‘humanitarian crisis’ after being drafted in to help hospital trusts and ambulance services.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has responded with measures including promises to release GP time to ‘support urgent care services’, with the Department of Health indicating that the QOF reporting year could be extended to allow this.
The hospitals in London have resorted to using paediatric wards to provide beds for adults because of heightened demand.
A spokesperson for Croydon University Hospital said: ‘It is important to be clear that children and adult patients are still being treated on separate wards.
‘Like all hospitals, we are currently extremely busy. We have opened extra surgical beds on one of our children’s wards to care for our younger patients. This has allowed us to temporarily switch what would routinely be used a children’s surgical ward to treat only adult patients before and after their operations.’
A spokesperson from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: ‘Yesterday was extremely busy with high number of patients attending the emergency department at University Hospital Lewisham and requiring admission. We put our escalation procedures in place to ensure patient safety was maintained. In line with this, the paediatric short stay unit was briefly used as an adult only escalation area.’