Who is Roland Sinker? (19) Cambridge hospital boss says patients may be sent to be treated in Birmingham or London as Covid patients take rising numbers of beds

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Roland Sinker said the plan B was in place in order but had not been acted upon by the trust yet

A hospital chief warned that patients may be sent up to 88 miles away for treatment in a severe message to staff for a bed crisis at his hospital.

Chief Executive Officer Roland Sinker

Chief Executive Officer Roland Sinker told workers at Addenbrooke University Hospital in Cambridge that a ‘plan B’ option was to send patients to hospitals in Birmingham or London if they couldn’t solve current bed-related problems.

During last week’s internal meeting, Sinker said 150 beds were closed for infection control, meaning new patients were unable to use them, as a result of patients being admitted to the hospital due to the growing number of patients with Covid-19 entered.

Around 100 beds are now closed to new admissions, and 40 beds are empty as part of infection control measures. The hospital has about 1,000 beds in total.

As a result, Addenbrooke’s has been forced to postpone elective surgeries for some patients.

Cambridge Independent

In a transcript of the meeting, seen by the Cambridge Independent, Mr Sinker said the hospital was’ barely coping ‘before the coronavirus outbreak last year and the reduction in beds means that Addenbrooke’s is’ ceasing to function as a hospital’.

He added that the meeting was being conducted as a ‘call to arms’, adding that if there is no change in the way the hospital currently operates, it is in ‘real trouble’.


CQC (Commission for Quality of Care)

He said: ‘I came here in 2015 and the CQC (Commission for Quality of Care) rated us as inadequate.

We had a deficit of £ 90 million. I must say that I am much more anxious and scared now than I was then.

‘Plan B for us is indeed Cambridge University Hospitals, which have been around for 250 years, thinking about restricting access to care and telling patients,’ I’m so sorry I can’t take care of you. ‘

“You’re going to have to think about going to another hospital.” And those hospitals must be in London and Birmingham. Let’s go to the heart of the sun. ‘

NHS Providers

NHS Providers Deputy Executive Director Saffron Cordery said other trusted NHS leaders in England face the same concerns, adding they are under ‘significant pressure’ and ‘increasingly concerned as we move into a difficult winter’ .

She said: ‘Capacity is being restricted due to a combination of growing demand, staff shortages, infection prevention control measures, continued increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations and long waiting lists due to the pandemic.

“The NHS has lost more than 4,500 general and acute beds, compared to before the pandemic, due to the need for strict control measures for Covid-19 infection.

“On top of that, significant pressures across the health and social care system are having a huge impact on whether patients can leave the hospital in a timely manner when they are medically fit to do so.

“Long hospital stays can not only be detrimental to patients, but they are also restricting the trusts’ ability to reduce the delay for those awaiting treatment.”

She called on the government to commit to permanent funding for discharge to evaluate, a model in which patients who no longer need a hospital bed but still require care can be discharged and treated at home.

The plan is due to end on March 31, 2022, and the government has said it will not fund care provided after this date.

“Trusts need to see a national workforce plan, continued dedicated funding for discharge screening, and investment in social care and public health,” he said.

“These long-standing fault lines have been significantly aggravated by the impact of Covid-19 and cannot be addressed overnight.”

Cambridge University Hospitals said:

A spokesperson for Cambridge University Hospitals said: “ Due to a recent increase in Covid patients treated at Addenbrooke’s, the hospital is under extreme pressure and is calling on all members of our community to come together to try reduce infection rates.

“We are managing the needs of Covid patients as we strive to provide surgical, outpatient, diagnostic and emergency care at the same rate or even more than before Covid-19.

“Please help us by getting your flu and Covid vaccinations, and maintain hand hygiene, social distancing, and wearing face masks in crowded places.”

He has contacted the UK Department of Health and Welfare and the NHS for comment.

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Quicks and Facts

  • Cambridge patients could be sent elsewhere as a ‘Plan B’ after rising Covid cases
  • The NHS has lost thousands of beds due to the need for distance between them
  • Roland Sinker said 150 beds in the hospitals due to infection control measures
  • Saffron Cordery of NHS Providers blamed Covid and staff shortages for the plan
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