What the N&N says

The Evening News asked for an explanation from the N&N as to the situation.

The Evening News asked for an explanation from the N&N as to the situation. Here is what director of nursing Christine Baxter said: 'In common with other hospitals when we have very high levels of emergency admissions, we care for patients in escalation areas including the clinical treatment rooms on our wards.

'At the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) we have opened 54 additional beds since last winter and with the additional, newly built, rehabilitation beds in Norwich there are a total of 102 extra beds locally compared to this time last year.

'This year we have seen a sustained 10pc increase in emergency admissions to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital which has presented operational challenges.

'We have an escalation process that is agreed with NHS Norfolk and allows for the use of clinical treatment rooms once all our beds are full. These clinical treatment rooms have been risk assessed to ensure they are suitable for patient care.

'Patients are carefully assessed before being moved into clinical treatment rooms and patients moved are the least sick and most stable. The rooms are only used as part of our escalation at the point where our ability to admit patients for planned surgery is severely challenged.

'Our interest is in making sure all our patients get the best possible care and that their dignity and privacy is protected. We always ask patients if they would be prepared to move into a treatment room and explain to them the reason for this request.

Most Read

'In a couple of instances patients have declined to move into a treatment room and we have respected their wishes. Dependent on the time of day we try to inform relatives where possible.

'Our nurses carefully select the most appropriate patients to be moved if needed and this will include patients who are close to discharge from hospital or who are awaiting surgery.

'We also take account of ward staffing and the general acuity of all patients on a ward. If a ward has a high number of very dependent patients and it is not appropriate to place an additional patient on the ward then the clinical treatment room is not used.

'The concerns that have been voiced have not been about quality of care but about dignity. We take the dignity of all our patients very seriously. The treatment rooms have nurse call bells, oxygen and suction facilities and are equipped with electric profiling beds, over-bed tables and lockers in the normal way.

'We regard the use of treatment rooms as a temporary solution at times of intense pressure on beds. It enables us to admit emergency patients at peak periods and reduce the number of elective surgical patients we would otherwise have to cancel.'