All beds are full at James Paget Hospital

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk.

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Patients told to stay away from the James Paget Hospital at Gorleston as there are no free beds.

The declaration of a business continuity incident - previously described by the trust as a major incident - was due to a massive increase in number of patients arriving at A&E.

Yesterday saw 93 ambulances attend the hospital; the average number for a Sunday is around 50.

Hospital chief executive Christine Allen said: 'The situation is this - all beds at the hospital are full and all additional bed space available when extra capacity is needed is now in use.

'Because of this, and to ensure the safety of our patients, we are working closely with the ambulance service to see how we can reduce pressure on our A and E department.

'It is important that local people are aware of the current situation at the JPUH. My message to them is: do not attend our A and E department unless your condition is life-or-limb-threatening.'

The hospital's management is working with healthcare partners including the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group and East Coast Community Healthcare to ease pressure.

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Staff are reviewing all patients on wards so that those patients who do not need hospital care can either go home or be moved to other units.

The hospital is also reviewing non-urgent surgery for the next few days and patients will be contacted if their surgery is cancelled.

Any patients cancelled will have their procedures re-scheduled, the hospital said.

The Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital has said it was also on red alert but would help the JPUH cope.

A spokesperson said: 'We had an extensive plan in place for the build up to Christmas and the New Year. Our teams worked really hard over this period to keep patients flowing through the hospital.

'We've mainly been on Green or Amber and have been actively supporting both the QE & JPH over the New Year weekend. We're currently on red but are still helping to support JPH on what is often one of the most challenging days in the year for any NHS acute hospital.'

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn also remains on black alert.

David Stonehouse, deputy chief executive, said: 'We are experiencing significant spikes in demand for emergency services and this has been compounded by an increase in the general acuity of patients in the hospital meaning that we are fully utilising our escalation capacity.

'Our priority is patient care and safety and working with our partners we have developed comprehensive plans to ensure this is maintained at all times.'