124 ambulances held up at King’s Lynn hospital - latest figures reveal winter strain on our A&E

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

New figures have revealed the strain put on our hospitals during a week of unprescedented demand on A&E departments.

New NHS England statistics show more than 140 operations - including some urgent procedures - were cancelled between January 5 and 11, a period in which the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (N&N) declared an 'internal major incident' and the Queen Elizabeth in King's Lynn was put on black alert.

The delays and difficulties were blamed on winter pressures such as illness, particularly effecting the elderly population.

Over the same period the figures showed more than 200 ambulances were left queuing at the N&N - Norfolk's biggest hospital - the James Paget Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston and the Queen Elizabeth.

The King's Lynn site suffered the longest queues with a total of 124 emergency vehicles held up while the N&N had 80 ambulances waiting at its doors. The JPH had 17 over the seven day period.


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Scores of operations had to be cancelled across all three sites with the JPH having to delay 100 procedures. At the N&N 44 were cancelled and two at the Queen Elizabeth.

The majority of the cancelled operations were elective.

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The percentage of patients seen within the target four hour window at A&E departments also fluctuated between the hospital sites.

In King's Lynn just over three quarters of patients were seen within the timeframe (76pc), while 85.4pc were seen at the N&N. The JPH had the best performance with 93.9pc of patients hitting the target time.

The major incident at the N&N - which meant it had reached capacity - and the black alert at the Queen Elizabeth - meaning it was fairly full - was a situation replicated across the UK in early January, as hospitals struggled to cope with demand.

In Norfolk staff were redeployed to help out on busy wards and consultants called away from normal duties to see A&E patients.

Do you have a health story? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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