Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) has declared a critical incident today (Thursday, December 29) to protect patient safety as the hospital and emergency department are over full.

Demand for emergency and urgent care is far outstripping the capacity available in Portsmouth and South-East Hampshire.

The PHU Trust calling on the local community to help this situation by taking relatives or friends home from the hospital as soon as they are declared ready to leave.

Dr John Knighton, medical director at PHU, said: "As soon as a person is medically ready to leave hospital, they should be discharged to their place of residence.

"Every time one patient leaves hospital it helps a further four patients move through the hospital to ensure they get the care they need in a timely way.

"This means the emergency department is free for those that need lifesaving care, and ambulances are able to quickly return to the community to provide emergency support to people.”

Liz Rix, chief nurse, added: “We know that the longer a patient stays in hospital the greater the risk of deconditioning where immobility and inactivity causes muscle weakness, walking difficulty and an increased risk of falls and injury.

"At a time when our services are really stretched the extra support patients receive from those closest to them can really help with their recovery and returning to good health and independence.

"Just making sure your relative or friend is home safe, will not only help them recover but help us to care for another Portsmouth person who needs a hospital bed.”

Further information can be found on the website at: https://www.porthosp.nhs.uk/ready-to-go.htm