Nurses in the midlands have been asked to volunteer for extra shifts, and 4x4 drivers have been asked to come forward to get them to work, as severe winter weather continues to hit the NHS.
Nurses working at Worcestershire Royal, Kidderminster and Alexandra hospitals were among nurses around the country who were asked to work wherever they could get to, even if it was not their usual hospital, after the latest heavy snow at the weekend.
A spokeswoman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, which runs the three hospitals, said 4x4 drivers had also been asked to volunteer to get nurses to hospitals on Saturday and Monday when heavy snow hit the area.
“People have been very generous with their time, and it’s amazing where a 4x4 can get when other vehicles can’t,” she said.
“One driver volunteered to spend all day with a midwife so that she could make essential visits around the area.”
Elsewhere, the social networking site Twitter was used to identify 4x4 and tractor drivers who could help transport nurses. One nurse from the East Surrey Hospital was transported to provide antibiotics to an elderly patient in a rural area following a Twitter appeal.
Nurses have been sleeping at work, including those from Colchester General Hospital in Essex, who spent the night in an empty ward because they were unable to get home after the snow hit on Saturday night. Others worked double shifts.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said nurses were doing all they could to get to work, and to deal with the increased workload caused by the harsh weather.
However, he warned: “We know hospital wards are often running at near full capacity all year round, so when you add a cold spell into the mix, this can push hospitals and staff to the limit.”
The RCN Direct call centre, in Cardiff, was forced to close on Monday because staff were unable to get to work.