Pressure remains high on county’s hospitals as two remain on alert

PUBLISHED: 15:50 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:50 19 February 2018

Ambulances queuing outside A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Picture: Ian Burt

Ambulances queuing outside A&E at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant Norfolk 2018

Pressure continues to be high on the region’s NHS as one of the county’s hospitals called for available staff to cover extra shifts.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn declared an internal critical incident last week due to a large number of “seriously unwell” patients arriving at the hospital, combined with high levels of staff sickness.

And the demand continued as this week began, as the hospital asked on Facebook for available staff to get in contact if they could work.

Ambulances again queued outside A&E. In one photograph posted on Twitter by Matt Webb eight ambulances and one ambulance response car can be seen outside the busy department.

Chief executive Jon Green said: “While the situation has been challenging and we have had beds available, I would like to praise all of our frontline staff for the dedication and hard work to care for our acutely unwell patients. During this time we have also worked closely with partners across the healthcare system.

“Our priority remains patient safety and our staff have worked exceptionally hard to maintain this at all times and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff for everything they have done for our patients.

“While we would not wish to deter anyone from seeking medical treatment, we would ask people to consider alternative options to A&E, such as consulting your local pharmacist, calling 111 or download our free Choose Well App.”

The James Paget University Hospital (JPUH), in Gorleston, and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) both declared a less serious business continuity incident last weekend, and whilst NNUH has since recovered, the JPUH said they were still under pressure.

JPUH deputy chief executive Andrew Palmer said: “We are working closely with our local health and social care partners to ease the pressure by safely discharging as many patients as possible, either home or to on-going care elsewhere in the community.

“This will help free-up bed space for emergency cases coming through our A&E department.”

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