Increased demand for emergency care forces Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to cancel operations

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. - Credit: PA

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is having to cancel some operations as part of efforts to deal with a 'significantly increased' demand for emergency care.

To cope with the demand the hospital has opened up a special ward in its Day Procedure Unit and, as a result, has had to cancel some day procedure operations.

The increased demand for emergency care adds to the problems facing the hospital, which is currently having to tackle cases of Norovirus in 11 wards.

Demand for emergency care has also led to ambulances queueing outside the hospital.

A hospital spokesman said: 'Along with acute hospitals across the country we are experiencing significantly increased demand for emergency care.

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'In common with other hospitals in the region, we have opened an escalation ward in the Day Procedure Unit.

'Unfortunately this has resulted in the need to cancel a number of day procedure operations for which we apologise. Operations which cannot be cancelled for clinical reasons are still being carried out in main theatres and every decision is made on a case by case basis by clinicians with regard to clinical priority.

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'We will be rescheduling cancelled operations so they can take place as soon as possible.'

The spokesman also said the hospital was continuing to deal with cases of Norovirus and said restricted visiting was still in place.

He said: 'Norovirus is still circulating in the community and there are currently cases affecting 11 wards. Restricted visiting is still in place and we continue to advise visitors to ensure they have good hand hygiene and not to come to the hospital if they have been unwell with sickness and diarrhoea until they have been clear of symptoms for at least 48 hours.'

The latest issues at the hospital come just over a week after the East of England Ambulance Service Trust staff pitched an inflatable tent, which was on the brink of being used as a makeshift ward, outside the accident and emergency department on Easter Monday.

Delays in handing over patients to the hospital meant some people were left waiting in ambulances queueing outside the hospital for more than three hours.

That prompted a decision to put up the £70,000 tent, which could have housed six stretchers – the first time the ambulance trust has taken such a drastic step at any hospital since it bought the deployable rapid assembly shelter five years ago.

The ambulance trust has been criticised for its failure to hit response times, with the EDP's Ambulance Watch campaign highlighting the problems.

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