Record numbers of people wait for over 12 hours to be seen at our hospitals

Further coronavirus deaths have been announced at the Queen Elizabeth and Norfolk and Norwich hospit

Norfolk's three hospitals continue to experience immense pressure - Credit: Archant

A record number of people spent over 12 hours waiting to be seen in the emergency department of the region's hospitals last month, figures have revealed.

In December, pressures on services across Norfolk and Waveney saw a critical incident declared across all of the region's health trusts.

And the latest set of monthly figures published by NHS England have gone some way to explain why this measure was needed.

In December alone, more than 29,000 patients were seen in the emergency departments of the Norfolk and Norwich, James Paget and Queen Elizabeth hospitals - five months on from an all-time record high number of 34,048 in July. 

Nationally, an all-time record number of people faced trolley waits in the department of more than 12 hours.

These are the periods of time from which a patient arrives at the hospital to when they are either sent home or moved onto a ward - with almost 13,000 people experiencing this nationally.

And in all three Norfolk hospitals, a record 610 people waited for 12 hours or longer - 206 at the NNUH, 297 at the JPH and 107 and the QEH. 

The NNUH saw 16,654 A&E patients in December, the busiest festive month it has seen for several years and a 26pc increase on December 2020.

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It saw the hospital placed on OPEL 4, the highest alert level a medical facility can be on - which it still remains.

Drastic measures followed including squeezing additional beds onto wards to meet demand - although a spokesman said the hospital was close to being able to reverse this.

A spokesman for the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney, said: “Our hospitals continue to be extremely busy and emergency department staff are working closely with NHS partners and the ambulance service to make sure patients are seen as quickly as possible.

"We would urge everyone who is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine to take up the ‘evergreen’ offer. It is never too late to come forward for a first, second or third dose of the life-saving vaccine.

"By doing this, the public can help NHS staff be there for those patients who need them most.”

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