All three Norfolk hospitals put on alert over A&E pressure
PUBLISHED: 14:19 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 08:16 13 February 2018
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A lack of beds and staff led to problems at all three of Norfolk's hospitals over the weekend.
When hospitals are under pressure they declare one of three types of incident called ‘business continuity’, ‘critical’ or ‘major’, which is the most serious.
Two hospitals - the James Paget in Gorleston and NNUH - declared a ‘business continuity incident’ on Sunday, meaning normal levels of service were disrupted.
Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn called a more serious ‘critical’ incident.
Chief Executive Jon Green said this was down to lots of very ill patients and high levels of staff sickness.
He said the situation had been challenging.
“I would like to praise all of our frontline staff for the dedication and hard work to care for our acutely unwell patients,” he said.
“Our priority remains patient safety and our staff have worked exceptionally hard to maintain this at all times.”
A spokesman for the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) said there was pressure over the weekend on the whole health system in the county.
They said on Sunday emergency admissions were 50pc above expected levels at the NNUH.
The spokesman added: “Our teams responded well and we thank them for working hard to ensure excellent patient care is maintained. We have now de-escalated.”
The James Paget hospital said it declared the incident because of pressure on its beds.
Deputy chief executive Andrew Palmer said: “We have had an extremely busy weekend.
“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.”
Mr Palmer urged patients to use their pharmacy, GP or NHS 111 service to avoid coming in to A&E.
The whole NHS has been under severe pressure this winter, with long waits at A&E, operations cancelled and delays handing over patients from ambulances to hospitals.
In January the A&E chiefs at all three Norfolk hospitals signed a letter to the Prime Minister warning safety levels were “intolerable”.