Hospital's plea as number of Covid patients nears double first peak figure

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings LynnThe Chief Executive of the QEH Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The boss of a Norfolk hospital says it has almost double the number of Covid patients compared to the first peak, as she urged people to follow the rules this Christmas.

Caroline Shaw, chief executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, has voiced the importance of people continuing to follow the government guidance this Christmas by keeping gatherings "small, local and limited".

She said the hospital, like most across the country, is experiencing very high levels of demand on its services as Covid-19 infections continue to rise alongside normal winter pressures.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings LynnMain Entrance

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, where staff will be offered coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available - Credit: Sonya Duncan

She added: "Unlike the first wave, where we saw a reduction in patients attending for ‘usual’ illnesses, this time demand for heart attack, stroke, trauma, cancer and emergency surgery remains at pre Covid-19 levels. 

"This is compounded by the fact that we now have nearly double the number of Covid-19 patients in our hospital compared to the peak in wave one.

"Our challenges are greater this time round because as we test more of our staff, more of them are testing positive, resulting in more staff needing to self-isolate.

"This means that our staff are even busier and under lots of pressure as they strive to deliver the highest possible patient care to you."

She described this winter as the "toughest" one she has seen in her NHS career and has asked for understanding as staff continue to work through it.

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She added: "These rules we are asking you to live by won’t last forever but they will help support your local hospital and our staff as we continue to battle this awful virus."

The hospital asks that people pick the right service this winter to ensure they get the help they need, which includes: 

  • For genuine emergencies such as loss of consciousness, fits, chest pain, breathing difficulties, severe bleeding, allergic reactions, burns or scalds, stroke or major trauma you should attend A&E.
  • If you need urgent care but you are not sure where to go, call NHS 111, which will be able to advise the best place.
  • For non-urgent or ongoing concerns, your GP is the best port of call and your local pharmacists can also provide medication and support.
  • You should get you repeat prescriptions ahead of the Christmas and holiday period.


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