Hospitals see big drop in numbers of patients attending A&E

The entrance to the new emergency department created at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

The entrance to the new emergency department created at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: NNUH - Credit: NNUH

The number of people attending A&E across Norfolk’s three main hospitals in March fell dramatically, new figures can reveal.

Statistics published on April 9 show overall numbers of patients in A&E at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) over the month were 9,258 which was its lowest figure in three years since February 2017 (9,228).

James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in Gorleston and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn saw its lowest numbers of people in A&E in five years, since February 2015, with 5,090 and 4,379 people coming through their doors, respectively.

The numbers of people in the NNUH, JPUH and QEH A&E departments in March 2020 compared with the previous month were down 19.1pc (2,185 people), 16.8pc (1,031 people), and 19.6pc (1,069 people).

Chris Cobb, NNUH chief operating officer, said: “We wish to thank the public for their support during the Covid-19 pandemic who have supported the Stay at Home, Save Lives guidance over the last few weeks.

“Our teams have worked incredibly hard to establish a second Emergency Department (ED) this week in the day procedure unit, which will be used to treat patients with suspected and confirmed cases of Covid-19.

“This effectively doubles the size of our ED and puts us in a good position ahead of the expected peak of the pandemic.

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“The existing ED is for non-Covid-19 related illnesses and injuries and would urge patients to still attend if they require emergency treatment.”

The hospital is being split into yellow zoned areas for patients with positive and suspected COVID-19 symptoms and green zoned areas for patients without the virus.

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Mr Cobb added: “As we move towards the peak of this outbreak, we have created yellow and green-zoned Emergency Departments to establish clear and separate areas of the hospital for patients who potentially need hospital admission for coronavirus symptoms. Thanks to the hard work of the ED and surgical division teams this expansion of our emergency care capacity will be in place prior to the peak of the infection.”

Further changes to the hospital site have begun with the start of work on a 10-bed isolation unit to help in the battle against Covid-19.

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

Click here to find out more about the EDP’s Here to Help campaign.

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