Hospital on black alert

A Norfolk hospital has been placed on 'black alert' several times over the past week as staff and wards were overwhelmed by high patient numbers.

Hospitals across the region have been reporting an increase in admissions, but at the James Paget University Hospital it reached levels which meant it was put on the emergency status.

Bosses at the Gorleston hospital said the situation was being constantly monitored and reviewed and said an increase in emergency medical admissions and surgical trauma patients over the weekend led to significant pressure on resources on Monday.

This was further compounded by continuing high attendance in A&E and emergency admissions.

Both the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in Norwich have been on red alert, one level below the most serious black alert, in the past week.

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The public is now being asked to help alleviate these pressures by considering alternatives to A&E, such as attending a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre.

Nick Coveney, director of nursing at the James Paget, said: 'Because of our location within a popular holiday destination, we are used to fluctuating numbers of patients throughout the year and it is too early to say if this is the onset of significant winter pressures.'

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A spokesman for the N&N said it had seen a rise in respiratory illnesses and it was working hard with social services to ensure elderly people in particular were not bed blocking.

Mark Henry, director of operations at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn, said: 'The trust has been on red alert over the past week – one level below the most serious level of black alert. Like many other hospitals, we are experiencing high levels of demand and high numbers of patients needing admission to the hospital as a result.'

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