All Norfolk hospitals stay on black alert for second day

Ambulances stacking up outside the A&E department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Pi

Ambulances stacking up outside the A&E department at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Escalation plans to cope with the highest category of demand remained in place at Norfolk's three main hospitals as patient demand prompted action.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital; the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston; and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn all confirmed they were on black alert yesterday after a busy Monday night.

A knock-on effect of hospitals issuing black alerts is that ambulances often end up queuing to get their patients into A&E.

And last week East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) stepped up their own contingency plans to cope with 'severe pressure'.

The move triggers specific measures to help stem the workflow such as 'cohorting', where ambulances arriving at hospitals' A&E departments offload their patient to crews already queuing outside to get back on the road and respond to other 999 calls.

Other measures include asking staff to cancel non-essential meetings and concentrate on supporting A&E operations.

All three hospitals issued a joint statement saying they were experiencing high demand.

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They said: 'We are working with East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST) and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to keep our patients safe.'

Anyone who is feeling unwell or who suffers a minor injury should consider calling 111 for advice, contacting their GP, or visiting one of the minor injury clinics rather than visiting A&E.

Those with potentially life threatening conditions or major injuries should continue to go to A&E.