Covid in Falkirk district : Rising cases lead to strain on FVRH

Covid cases across Falkirk district continue to rise and are putting a huge strain on health services.

As Scotland recorded the largest number of coronavirus patients in its hospitals since the start of the pandemic two years ago, NHS Forth Valley admitted the sharp rise in Covid positive cases was stretching its resources.

Figures published on Tuesday showed 2221 hospital patients in Scotland had recently confirmed Covid-19 – which was the second day in a row a record high had been reached.

However, Scotland’s Health Secretary has said the NHS can cope with the situation, but warned “really difficult decisions” are having to be made.

Covid infection rates remain high across Forth Valley putting a strain on Forth Valley Royal Hospital services

Humza Yousaf added that he thought case numbers could start to stabilise this week.

Falkirk Council area currently has the fifth highest rate of Covid cases in Scotland with 2006.1 per 100,000 of population, just behind Clackmannanshire on 2006.2, while Stirling has 1642.2.

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Statistics also show that almost half of patients attending Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s Emergency Department are waiting more than four hour target time to be treated, admitted or discharged.

The most recent figures for March 13 show 1179 attended the Larbert hospital’s A&E with 51.9 per cent treated within four hours.

Although the figure appears to be the worst in Scotland, NHS Forth Valley points out that as a health board it only has one A&E, while other boards have several in different hospitals.

During the comparable period NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s performance was 66.3 per cent but figures for its A&E’s at the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital were 49.8 per cent and 49.7 per cent respectively, lower than FVRH’s 51.9 per cent.

They added that with so many inpatients testing positive it put a strain on the admissions, leading to the delay in people being able to move through the system for which they apologised.

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said: “We have seen a recent sharp rise in the number of patients in our local hospitals who have tested positive for Covid-19 as well as high numbers of seriously ill patients attending our ED and assessment centres who require urgent care and treatment.

“This is having a significant impact on our capacity and ability to move patients across our hospitals. As a result, some patients have had to wait for longer periods of time in the Emergency Department until an inpatient bed becomes available.

"Staff are doing everything possible to reduce delays and we would like to take this opportunity to apologise to anyone who has experienced a long wait to be seen at this very challenging time.”

They gave an assurance that “all patients who attend our Emergency Department are assessed and those with more serious injuries and injuries continue to be prioritised. Many patients also undergo tests and start their treatment in ED while they are waiting in to be admitted to a ward”.

People with minor injury or illness are being urged to call NHS24 on 111 day or night for advice on where to access the care they need as quickly and as close to home as possible.

Local pharmacies can also provide advice and treatment for many common illnesses and injuries.

FVRH is currently only allowing essential visiting due to the high number of Covid cases.

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