The city’s outgrown A&E department could finally crack this winter under the strain of far too many patients.
Hospital bosses are already advising people to avoid the department where possible and seek alternative treatment via their GP, pharmacy or Urgent Care Centre.
And they fear the worse is still yet to come – because the traditional surge of winter viruses, breathing problems and icy weather falls has not even happened yet.
This week chief operating officer Darren Leech admitted it was “concerning” that the A&E surge was happening so early in the season.
He said: “We are seeing a big increase in the number of patients and ambulances coming to A&E. We seem to be breaking our records for busiest day every month.
Mr Leech added: “A lot of the usual winter issues, like flu, winter vomiting disease, breathing problems and falls on ice have not started yet. When winter gets going, inevitably this will put increasing pressure on our services.”
A&E staff are struggling to cope and patients are waiting longer to be seen. Last month 88.9 per cent were seen within four hours, rather than the recommended 95 per cent.
The ongoing situation only strengthens the Citizen’s case for the government to fund a new, bigger and better A&E department in Milton Keynes.
Supported by city MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster, the campaign looks set to end in eventual victory, but no one can put a date on it yet.
Mr Lancaster said: “I think the Department of Health has recognised that as the city continues to expand there needs to be major capital investment here.
“The key is to try to get that sooner rather than later.”