Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital in Portsmouth has declared a ‘critical incident’, and is currently only treating patients with “life threatening” conditions and injuries in its emergency department.

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, which runs QA Hospital, says it is faced with “extreme pressure” across the site because of staffing shortages and the added strain of the prolonged hot weather.

The critical incident was declared just before 4pm on Monday.

A trust spokesman said: “Our emergency department (ED) remains full with patients and we have very limited space to treat emergency patients.

“We are only able to treat patients with life threatening conditions and injuries, so anyone patients who arrive at ED without a life-threatening condition or injury, will be redirected to alternative services that can help.”

Non-emergency cases are being redirected to urgent treatment centres at St Mary’s Hospital, Gosport and Petersfield.

The South Central Ambulance Service also declared a critical incident on Monday.

Patients are urged not to call 999 unless it is a serious or life-threatening emergency as the ambulance service is also under intense pressure.

It comes three months after QA Hospital declared a separate critical incident because of a high number of patients and staff sickness.

The Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust spokesman continued: “Our immediate priority is to ensure there are beds available to admit our most seriously ill patients into and we are focusing on safely discharging as many patients as possible.

“We ask that families and loved ones support us with this and collect patients as soon as they are ready to be discharged.

“The safety and comfort of our patients is paramount, we will be providing staff and patients with additional water and ice creams/lollies as well as reviewing ventilation on our wards so that patients staying with us and our staff teams are as comfortable as possible during the hot weather.

“Water stations are also being set up at the entrance points to the hospital.

“If you are unsure of where to go, visit www.111.nhs.uk who will be able to help you get the help you need.”