THE CARE crisis on the Isle of Wight is causing gridlock in the Island's only hospital - being described as almost the perfect storm by one of the top health bosses.

A critical level of staff vacancies across the adult social care sector on the Island has led to pressure points created in all levels of health care.

Last week, at St Mary's Hospital in Newport, the discharges of almost two full wards of patients were being delayed because of lack of vacancies in the community.

Speaking at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Board meeting, chief operating officer, Joe Smyth said care packages and short-term community placements were not available and patients were being held up in the hospital 'far longer than was absolutely necessary'.

Solutions put forward by the trust, Dr Lesley Stevens, director of community, mental health and learning disabilities said, working in partnership with community teams, include supporting and enabling care homes to have more confidence taking greater numbers of people in, among other measures.

Emergency admissions are also up and this has meant the hospital has approached a gridlock situation multiple times.

Mr Smyth said: "It is almost a perfect storm occurring; we cannot get people out, we have a Covid third wave and above normal emergency admissions. All of that is being juggled."

On several occasions, Mr Smyth said there had been more than 20 people waiting in the emergency department for a bed elsewhere in the hospital.

Thankfully, Mr Smyth said, the situation was being managed but all it took was a high admissions day and a low discharge day before the hospital's contingency was blown.

Overall, he said the trust had not been collecting larger numbers of patients.

It had a Gold Command team meeting twice a week to review the problem and senior oficers reviewing the situation every day to control the flow through the organisation.

Mr Smyth said: "We are working on this all together but there is not an easy solution for social care to be able to magic up the people that are able to fill these posts.

"There is hope on the horizon but it is very fragile and a long process to recruit people in but they are working hard."