‘It feels like everything is broken and tumbling down’

Stretched hospital staff tell of the increasing pressure they're under going into winter.

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Hospital staff have said they are so stretched that it “feels like everything is broken and tumbling down”.

Under-pressure medics at University Hospital Wishaw urged people to get their Covid vaccines and boosters to help ease the strain on the NHS over winter.

Wishaw – which opened its doors to STV current affairs show Scotland Tonight – has been beyond capacity since October 22 and is one of a number of Scottish hospitals currently being supported by the military.

Dr Joel Burton, a consultant in emergency medicine, said: “We’ll continue to do our best, but if there’s more and more people coming in the door, the wait is going to be longer and the standard of care is going to go down.”

As well as Covid cases, hospitals are also struggling with the number of patients visiting accident and emergency departments, where just over 70% are being seen within the Scottish Government’s four-hour target.

And many beds are being used by patients who are medically fit to leave, but have nowhere to go, partly due to a lack of available social care.

Meanwhile, on the surgical floor, staff shortages at Wishaw are leading to operations being cancelled.

Theatre manager Olivia Phillip said: “I think most perioperative departments are struggling to recruit at the moment, and that’s partly to do with temporary redeployment to areas like critical care and the emergency department.

“So we are struggling to recruit and then that’s compounded by sickness.

“Also, while there are nurses, they’re very specialised within perioperative services, and to redeploy staff potentially to another area that they’re not overly familiar with obviously comes with a degree of anxiety.”

Scotland Tonight is on STV and the STV Player at 7.30pm on Thursday.